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Millions of UK workers missing out on basic rights: Resolution Foundation report

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Around one in twenty workers report not receiving any holiday entitlement, while around one in ten do not receive a payslip according to new analysis published today by the Resolution Foundation.


The analysis uncovers the extent of unlawful working practises across the UK, and identifies where abuse is most common. Focusing on the key labour market violations, it finds that:

  • Around one in twenty workers report receiving no paid holiday entitlement, despite being legally entitled to at least 28 days a year (pro-rated accordingly for part-time workers).
  • Almost one in ten workers do not receive a legally required payslip, making it hard for workers to calculate whether they’re receiving the right level of pay, pension and holiday entitlement and check for deductions.

Findings based on ONS and government data show that around one in six workers aged 65+ report they have no paid holiday entitlement, more than any other age group.

Workers aged 25 and under are almost twice as likely be underpaid the minimum wage as any other age group.

Workers in the hotels and restaurants sector 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.

Workers in the hotels sector are the most likely to miss out on minimum legal workplace entitlements

Despite record numbers of successful claims heard last year at the employment tribunal courts, the Foundation says however that those workers who are most likely to require redress through the ET system are the least likely to use it.

It notes that young people are disproportionately likely to be subject to unlawful working practises, but make far fewer applications than any other age group. In contrast, managers are the least likely to be subject to labour market violations, but are among the most likely to make tribunal claims.

Proportion of workers reporting zero paid holiday entitlement, by characteristic, UK, 2016 -2018 Source: Resolution Foundation analysis of ONS, Quarterly Labour Force Survey

The revelations come hot on the heels of government plans to create one single enforcement body to tackle labour market abuse. It would enforce holiday pay, which it admits is ‘not currently enforced’ by HSE as well as a host of rights.

Lindsay Judge, Senior Economic Analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Labour market violations remain far too common, with millions of workers missing out on basic entitlements to a pay slip, holiday entitlement and the minimum wage.

 “Our analysis suggests that while violations take place across the labour market, the government should also prioritise investigations into sectors like hotels and restaurants, along with firms who make large use of atypical employment contracts, as that’s where abuse is most prevalent.”

The report published on 16 September marks the start of the Resolution Foundation’s three-year investigation into labour market enforcement. From Rights to Reality will explore labour market violation in connection with the changing world of work, such as mechanization and the rise of self-employed workers.

“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,” said Judge.

From Rights to Reality campaign and report here 

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