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TUC calls for an October Bank Holiday

October 25 2004 - The TUC is continuing its campaign for three new bank holidays to bring British workers' public holiday entitlement up to the European average of 11 days.

41% of the 19,469 people who voted online in the TUC's WorkSMART.org.uk poll favoured a Monday in late October for a new bank holiday. 32% chose the national Saints' days - St George's, St Andrew's and St David's Days and 11% voted for New Year's Eve.

Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary, said:

'It's a cold dark Monday but autumn doesn't have to be such a slog. The country could comfortably cope with a day off today to break the 16-week bank holiday-free stretch.

'If this Monday were a bank holiday millions of hard working families would be able to spend a day with their children during half term without taking extra leave. Millions of employees could give our leisure and retail industries a boost or take a long weekend away and help our tourism sector. Others could simply be enjoying a well-earned extra lie in and a very happy Monday.'

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3 Million not entitled to Easter bank holidays

April 16 2003 - Almost three million (2.9) people will be at work on Good Friday, and 2.7 million will be working Easter Monday. The TUC report, Give workers an Easter break: Why three million won't be happy Easter bunnies also shows that around three million employees will not get holiday pay if they take Good Friday or Easter Monday off.

The report is based on an analysis of Labour Force Survey data. It also finds that twice as many employees will work the Easter bank holiday period as worked over Christmas and New Year. The figures also reveal that 130,000 employees at work on Easter Monday, and 147,000 at work on Good Friday, will not be paid extra and many will not be able to take a day off in lieu.

In fact, there is no statutory right for British employees to take Easter bank holidays, or any others, as time off or to receive holiday pay if they do. Neither do UK workers have the right to be paid a special rate for working bank holidays. And the UK is alone in the European Union in allowing employers to count bank holidays as part of the four weeks minimum paid annual leave guaranteed by the Working Time Directive.

Brendan Barber , TUC General Secretary Elect, said:

"While most of us will be enjoying a well-earned Easter break, several million employees will be rather hot and cross that they will either be working or losing two days' pay this weekend. Good Friday has been a public holiday since the Middle Ages and Gladstone first gave Victorian workers a break on Easter Monday but vulnerable employees with bad egg bosses are still losing out.

"No-one should be out of pocket for taking an Easter holiday, and staff who do have to work should receive a special rate of pay for doing so."

The TUC has repeatedly called on the government to:

Three new bank holidays created to bring the UK up to the EU average.

A statutory right to be paid to take bank holidays off.

Those who do have to work on bank holidays, to be given a choice between being paid double time, or normal time plus a day's paid holiday in lieu, to be taken at a later date.

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Call for more public holidays

3 May 2002 - The TUC is calling for an extra three bank holidays a year, claiming that Britainís workers get the lowest number of bank holidays and the least statutory annual leave in Europe.

Workers in mainland Britain enjoy only eight bank holidays a year (10 in Northern Ireland) compared to 12 in Italy, 13 in Austria and up to 14 in Spain and Portugal. Britain and the Netherlands have the fewest public holidays in the EU - but Dutch workers have the right to be paid for their public holidays.

The UK also comes bottom of the European league on annual holidays - combining statutory public holidays (those where employees have the right by law to time off) and statutory annual leave puts the UK 13 days behind the EU average.

British workers do not have statutory rights to bank holidays - they depend on the generosity of their employers. This is also the case with some European bank holidays but the majority are statutory days which employees are entitled to, by law.

Most EU countries have a minimum standard of compensation for working on public holidays, usually a choice of a premium rate or time off in lieu. But UK employees donít have this.

British workers who are members of trade unions come off better than those who are not. The average trade union member gets 29 days a year compared to 23 days for non-union members.

TUC General Secretary John Monks said: 'UK workers have the shortest holidays and the lowest productivity in Northern Europe. So offering more holidays makes sense for employers too because well-rested workers are more productive. British workers need proper time off work as much as their European colleagues but once again they are at the bottom of the EU pile.'

Public holidays in EU

EU

Days

EU

Days

Austria

13

Luxembourg

10

Belgium

10

Netherlands

  8

Denmark

  9.5

Portugal

12-14

Finland

12

Spain

12-14

France

11

Sweden

11

Germany

  9-12

Britain *

  8

Greece

10-12

Northern Ireland *

10

Ireland

  9

EU average

10.8

Italy

12

United States

13

Source: IDS Europe and www.startinbusiness.co.uk

* plus an extra day for Golden Jubilee 2002 only

EU: public holidays and legal minimum annual leave combined

EU

Days

EU

Days

Austria

38

Luxembourg

35

Belgium

30

Netherlands

28

Denmark

34.5

Portugal

34-36

Finland

37

Spain

32-34

France

36

Sweden

36

Germany

29-32

Britain

20

Greece

32-34

Northern Ireland

20

Ireland

29

EU average

33

Italy

32-42 (varies by sector)

based on worker undertaking 5-day working week

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