THE TRADES UNION CONGRESS (TUC) is calling on the UK Government to create four new public holidays, after workers enjoyed their last long weekend until Christmas.

Workers in England and Wales get just eight bank holidays a year, which is much fewer than in other countries. Within the UK, workers in Scotland do best with 11 public holidays this year, followed by Northern Ireland with 10.

In the EU, every country gets more public holidays than the UK. And the EU average is 12.8 days, which is almost five days more than UK workers get. Romania, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Finland and Cyprus top the EU table, with 15 days each – nearly twice as many public holidays as workers in England and Wales.

Beyond Europe, workers in other major economies get more public holidays too. This year there are 17 public holidays in Japan, 12 in Australia and 11 in China and New Zealand. The TUC says all UK workers should get at least 12 public holidays and is calling for a national conversation about when people would like them to be.

To make sure that no workers miss out, the union body says extra public holidays must be reflected in statutory holiday entitlement. And any workers required to work on public holidays should have the right to a pay premium or time off in lieu.

TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “The August bank holiday will be a welcome break for everyone working hard to get us through the pandemic – especially those on the frontline. But after August, there’s no national holiday until Christmas. And that’s because the number of holidays we get is so stingy compared to other nations.

“A few more public holidays would be a great way to thank working Britain for getting us through these tough times. And it would level us up with other workers around the world. It’s time for a national conversation – when should our new holidays be? What might they celebrate? An autumn holiday to break the long stretch to Christmas would be a good start.”

* Source: Trades Union Congress