According to an analysis into the enforcement of workers’ rights in the UK, about one in 20 do not receive their paid holiday entitlement, despite being legally entitled to at least 28 days a year.
The study by the Resolution Foundation entitled “From rights to reality” also found that almost one in ten workers do not receive a payslip, although this is also a legal requirement. As a result, they struggle to ascertain whether they are receiving the correct amount of pay, pension and holiday entitlement. In addition, they cannot check whether unlawful deductions are being made from their pay.
Although HMRC identified a record 200,000 cases last year of workers who were not being paid the national minimum wage to which they were legally entitled, the report found that at least a quarter of workers earning within five pence of the minimum wage are being paid less than the legal minimum.
Workers aged under 25 and over 65 are the most likely not to receive a payslip, according to the research. Around one in six workers aged 65+ report that they have no paid holiday entitlement, more than any other age group, while workers aged 25 and under are almost twice as likely to be underpaid the minimum wage as any other age group.
In terms of sectors, workers in the hospitality industry are the most likely to miss out on minimum legal workplace entitlements. Around one in seven workers in the sector report receiving no holiday entitlement, three times the rate across the rest of the economy, while around one in seven do not receive a pay slip, 50 per cent higher than the rest of the labour market.
The analysis also found that workers in small firms (employing fewer than 25 employees) are most likely to miss out on pay slips and holiday leave, as are workers on zero-hours and temporary contracts.
Although workers have the right to bring claims to employment tribunals, the study found that those workers most likely to need redress are the least likely to use it. Young people in particular are likely to be subject to unlawful working practices, but also constitute the age group making the fewest applications.
Neil Todd, of Thompsons Solicitors, commented: “The report illustrates that the laws which currently govern UK workplaces are not being properly enforced, with large numbers of workers being denied their minimum legal entitlements. Poor and unlawful employment practices tend to arise in workplaces where there is no recognised trade union and where trade union membership among employees and/or workers is very low.
“The creation of a new single enforcement body as proposed by the present government may assist in enforcing existing laws. However, it is trade unions who are most likely to effectively tackle this problem. Enabling trade unions to access these workplaces and to organise is the best way to stamp out the exploitation which currently goes unchallenged and to build progressive industrial relations in the UK.”
To read the analysis in full, go to: https://www.resolutionfoundation.org/app/uploads/2019/09/Enforcement-spotlight-1.pdf