The Trade Union Congress (TUC) is calling on the UK Government to create four new public holidays, with one being in between August and Christmas.
Workers in England and Wales only receive eight bank holidays a year, the smallest amount of bank holidays awarded in any European Union (EU) country. The EU average lies at 12 days. Countries like Cyprus, Slovakia, Finland and Slovenia all have 15 days of bank holiday a year.
The next European country with the smallest amount of bank holidays is Ireland with nine days.
The TUC believes that UK workers should receive 12 days of public holidays and have been calling for such changes to be made for some time now. They support a national conversation about which dates would be most appropriate.
If the UK were to obtain 12 days of bank holiday a year, the nation would have one more day than both Germany and France.
The trade union centre is also trying to amend the law that if an employee works on a bank holiday, they should have the right to “premium pay or time off in lieu”. At the moment there is no statutory right to extra pay when an employee works on a bank holiday.
Frances O’Grady, general secretary of TUC said:
As new technology changes our economy, the benefits should be shared by working people. That means less time at work, more time with family and friends, and decent pay for everyone.
But instead work is becoming more intense. Workers in Britain put in millions of hours of unpaid overtime every year but get fewer public holidays than their counterparts across Europe.
Working people deserve a break. And as the days start to get shorter we could all do with something to look forward to. The Government should create a new public holiday between now and Christmas.
Back in April 2019, the TUC found that full-time employees in the UK worked an average of 42 hours a week in 2018, nearly two hours more than the EU average. This is equivalent to an extra two and a half weeks a year.