[UK] Over a million workers do not get legal holiday pay

Over one million UK workers do not get any of the holiday pay they are guaranteed by law, according to new thinktank analysis, The Guardian reports.

Analysis from Resolution Foundation discovered revealed that workers nationwide have been having their rights abused for the past decade, against a backdrop of increasingly precarious working conditions.

In the years since the 2008 financial crisis, Britain has witnessed the rising dependence on zero-hours contracts and temporary and agency employment. Those working in the gig economy are not guaranteed employment rights like sick and holiday pay, which leads to disputes about their employment status.
The report comes after Jeremy Corbyn reportedly announced Labour’s intention to create a ministry of employment and a workers’ protection agency to enforce employment rights granted under law, if they are elected to power.

In recent years the government has made moves to increase the resources and power of bodies such as HMRC and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Agency, which acts to protect workers from exploitation. But Britain still primarily relies on individuals to hold to account firms who don’t comply. More than 100,000 applications were made to the employment tribunal system in 2018 alone.

The Resolution Foundation said that as many as one in 20 workers did not get any holiday pay despite being entitled under the law to at least 28 days a year, showing the extent of labour market law violations.

There are now over 32 million people in the UK workforce, the highest recorded level. Besides the self-employed - who do not receive automatic legal protections for holiday and sick pay - the findings suggest at least 1 million people are in some way being denied their rights.

The Resolution Foundation says 1 in 10 workers does not receive a legally required payslip, making it a struggle to check for any deductions and to calculate whether they are receiving the right levels of pay, pension and holiday.

Tax officials at HMRC additionally identified 200,000 cases of workers not getting the minimum wage because of enforcement work last year, a record number. The legal minimum wage for workers over the age of 25 is £8.21 per hour.

According to the analysis, at least a quarter of people earning within 5p of the minimum wage are paid under the legal minimum.

The findings showed that the chance of a worker being subjected to a labour market violation was greater for those at the start and the end of their working lives.

Workers under 25 and over 65 were found the most likely not to receive a payslip. Around one in six workers over 65 said they have no paid holiday entitlement, a figure higher than any other age group. Workers of 25 and under are nearly doubly likely be paid beneath minimum wage.

The analysis found that hotel and restaurant sector workers are the most likely to go without minimum legal workplace entitlements. Around one in seven workers said they did not get any holiday entitlement, this is three times the rate for the rest of the economy.

Workers employed by small firms and those with zero-hours contracts are said to be the most likely to go without payslips and holiday leave.
Lindsay Judge - senior economic analyst with 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 payslip, holiday entitlement and the minimum wage.”