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It’s official: public sector get more holiday

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All workers are entitled to twenty days off per year regardless of their length of service but according to analysts IRS, public sector workers are enjoying more than their fair share.

According to the study, public sector staff benefit by three or four days more holiday a year, on average, than those in the private sector or in manufacturing.

Workers in unionised workplaces are also profiting. Staff in workplaces where unions are recognised get 26.1 days annual leave, compared with the 22.7 on offer in non-unionised workplaces.

A quarter of respondents offer additional paid holiday usually around Christmas. While a fifth of employers have formal agreements in place to cover non-Christian holidays.

Commenting on this issue, IRS Employment Review managing editor Mark Crail said:

“As in other areas of employment legislation, senior managers must ensure that they are fully aware of workers’ entitlements. With the advent of legislation dealing with discrimination on grounds of religion or belief, employers need to be sensitive to requests made by employees who want time off to mark non-Christian religious festivals.”

Length of service also has a bearing on leave entitlements. Sixty-one per cent enjoy a holiday premium that equates to the number of years they have notched up with the same employer. But the trend is dying, the same survey, conducted 18 months ago put the figure at 66%.

Crail concludes:

“Overall, the UK continues to occupy a middle ground between the business-friendly United States and the more employee-friendly parts of the European Union. However, it is interesting to see the distinct variations between industry sectors and employee groups. Our research also suggests there is a union holiday premium – at least in relation to basic leave entitlement, just as there is already a union pay premium.”

The survey, conducted at the end of 2004, is based on responses from 161 organisations that between them employ 167,514 people.

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Annie Hayes

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