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Brexit could end right to holiday pay for millions

Staff writer |
Around 7 million UK workers could lose their "hard-won" right to holiday pay if Britain votes to leave the European Union, according to new analysis from the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

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The TUC said its analysis shows that since Europe guaranteed minimum paid holiday rights in 1998, more than 7m workers - a quarter of the employed workforce - have gained on average 13 days more paid annual leave each.

Women have seen the biggest benefit, with 4.7m getting more paid holidays compared to 2.7m men, while 4.2m part-time workers have seen their paid holiday entitlement rise.

Before the EU rules, trade unions had negotiated contractual paid holidays for many workers but it was only when four weeks' paid annual leave became a legal right that millions of other workers started to benefit.

The TUC cautioned that if Britons vote in favour of Brexit, the government would be able to decide whether or not to keep protections derived from EU laws.

"There is no guarantee that they would keep paid holiday entitlements at their current level, or at all - not least as the trend in the workplace is towards greater flexibility and casualisation, and some employers continue to complain bitterly about the supposed cost of basic worker protections."

It was highly likely some workers would find their holiday rights squeezed if the EU minimum standard was removed, the TUC said.


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