Alarming figures released by IWORK show that the UK’s 1.6m temporary workers* are missing out on at least £97m worth of paid holiday annually. This figure is based on someone earning the average salary of £26k being entitled to annual holiday worth over £3k, and applying that to just 2% of temps. The £97m estimate is staggering, but it is just the very tiny tip of an enormous iceberg.
The temps that we speak to regularly tell us that they were simply unaware of their statutory right to paid holiday, and our findings suggest this is the case for at least one third of temporary workers. And if they don’t know they should be receiving paid holiday, they are unlikely to be claiming it.
The lack of awareness is one problem, but the mechanics of claiming paid holiday are not straight forward either. By it’s very nature, businesses that engage temps usually do so because they are needed there and then, making it impossible to take paid leave mid-assignment. In addition, temps usually move immediately from one short-term assignment to another leaving no time available for taking paid leave.
The practicalities are exacerbated by unscrupulous umbrella companies and recruitment agencies that hide the fact that temps have a right to paid holiday. Whilst this could be a simple omission by the agency and/or umbrella, some deliberately exploit their temps by implementing specific processes which make it difficult to claim. Surprisingly such practices are not usually illegal, especially when outlined within the contractual small print which the temp has agreed to.
The scale of exploitation taking place is unforgivable so our holiday pay campaign is essential to reach those affected. It is a two-pronged attack, firstly to raise awareness of entitlement to paid holiday through the hashtag #doyougetyours and secondly encouraging action to receive it through #askforitgetit. Please help us to spread the word!
* There are 1.6m temporary workers currently in the UK according to the Office of National Statistics.