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More than a million UK workers denied legal holiday pay


What you need to know

More than a million workers in Britain do not receive holiday pay that they are entitled to by law. This is according to analysis from the Resolution Foundation. In addition to this, almost one in 10 workers do not receive a legally required payslip. This makes it hard for them to calculate whether they are receiving the correct wage, pension and holiday entitlement. Statistics show that workers in smaller businesses are more likely to be on zero-hours contracts. Often, they are without payslips or holiday entitlement. Lindsay Judge, senior economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said:

“The UK has a multitude of rules to govern its labour market – from maximum hours to minimum pay. But these rules can only become a reality if they are properly enforced. Labour market violations remain far too common, with millions of workers missing out on basic entitlements to a pay slip, holiday entitlement and the minimum wage.”

Today’s labour market looks nothing like it did a decade ago. Since the financial crash in 2008 there has been an increase in zero-hour contacts and a rise in undocumented workers. Tax officials at HMRC have identified a record 200,000 cases of workers not receiving the minimum wage.

Key Findings in the Report

  • To date, underpayment of the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage (NLW/NMW) has been the most thoroughly studied type of labour market abuse. Not least because it is relatively easy to measure objectively. 
  • One-in-twenty workers report having no paid holiday. This labour market violation appears to be very much a feature of the fringes of the labour market, including those working in atypical ways.
  • Close to one-in-ten workers report that they are not given a payslip. The youngest and oldest workers, immigrants and agency workers are reporting higher-than-average rates of non-receipt.
  • The fact that many of the same groups (young people, older workers, those in small firms and working in atypical ways) appear to be at greatest risk of each type of labour market.

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