The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is urging the government to make this Monday one of three new bank holidays.
The TUC say the government should bring the number of bank holidays into line with the rest of Europe who have an average 11 compared to the UK’s eight.
Slovakia tops the league with the most bank holidays with a total of 18, closely followed by Cyprus, Malta, Spain and Portugal on 14 days each per year. Only the Netherlands affords its workers as few public holidays as the UK but the Dutch enjoy more annual leave.
Almost 20,000 voted in the TUC’s poll on the matter with just under half (41%) preferring a Monday in late October as the new bank holiday date. Almost a third (32%) opted for St George’s, St Andrew’s and St David’s Days, and just over one in ten (11%) for New Year’s Eve.
Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary commented:
“It’s a cold dark Monday but autumn doesn’t have to be such a slog. The country could comfortably cope with a day off today to break the 16-week bank holiday-free stretch.
“If this Monday were a bank holiday millions of hard working families would be able to spend a day with their children during half term without taking extra leave. Millions of employees could give our leisure and retail industries a boost or take a long weekend away and help our tourism sector. Others could simply be enjoying a well-earned extra lie in and a very happy Monday.”
The TUC argue that the granting of additional bank holidays would have no impact upon the economy.
They say that bank holidays boost areas of the economy including retail and tourism while pointing out that work-related stress costs the UK £4.4 billion a year which they argue could be reduced if further holidays were introduced.