Women miss out on Bank Holiday pay

Apr 07 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

As the majority of us look forward to a few days off at Easter, the TUC says that nearly three million workers - two thirds of them women - are likely to be facing a pay cut because their employer refuses to pay them for the bank holidays.

An analysis of official statistics by the TUC shows that 2.7 million workers were not paid for the Easter Monday holiday last year. And of those who lost out, 1.7 million (64 per cent) were women - thatís some 15 per cent of the total female workforce.

The TUC says the reason is because it is legal for employers to treat bank holidays as a normal working day, or else force workers to take a day's holiday, either unpaid or as part of their minimum right to four weeks' paid holiday.

The UK is also the only EU member state (excluding the accession nations) that allows employers to offset public holidays against the European minimum of four weeks' paid holiday. The UK also gets three fewer bank holidays than the EU average.

Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, said: "It's 133 years since Gladstone introduced the Easter Monday bank holiday, yet a significant minority of UK workers are still not getting a paid holiday.

"Most people probably assume that they have a right to a day off with full pay, but they do not. It's about time the Government gave workers proper holiday rights and gave us enough bank holidays to bring us up to the European average."

The TUC says that those most likely to lose out are women workers in low paid and less skilled jobs who are the least likely to be able to afford to lose a day's pay.

The job types with the highest proportion of women losing out are elementary occupations such as cleaners and catering assistants, sales and customer service jobs and personal service jobs.

Workers in the hotel and restaurant sector are the most likely to be sent home without pay, but the biggest numerical group losing out are in health and social work where more than 400,000 are hit.