Public sector workers get more holiday

2005

Public sector workers in Britain get three to four days’ more holiday each year on average than their counterparts in the private sector, according to latest research.

A study of 161 organisations by the journal IRS Employment Review found that, while some private sector groups, such food, drink and tobacco workers and those in engineering and metals, did relatively well compared with their public sector cousins, others lagged far behind.

Those working in the textile industry and in retail and wholesale companies fared the worst, it said.

In the past, manual workers had fewer days’ paid leave than non-manual workers but this practice had almost disappeared, it added.

The employees polled enjoyed an annual basic holiday entitlement of 24.6 days, with most employers offering bank and public holidays as additional paid leave days.

On average, employees in workplaces where unions were recognised got 26.1 days annual leave, compared with 22.7 in non-unionised workplaces.

One in four employers offered additional paid company days, usually around Christmas. Although most employers offered additional days’ holiday to longer serving staff, this was becoming less common.

A fifth of employers had formal arrangements to cover non-Christian holidays, added IRS.

IRS Employment Review managing editor Mark Crail said: “Overall, the UK continues to occupy a middle ground between the business-friendly US and the more employee-friendly parts of the European Union.”