Election time and Labour is on a spending spree, using our money in order to advertise the many benefits workers have won under Labour. The expensive gloss includes an advert advising us of our new rights to four weeks paid holiday. Before rushing into management to claim your new holiday entitlement, we would urge a note of caution. In deregulated Britain job insecurity is widespread, and still spreading wildly. In such times, claiming your rights may just end up with you taking a permanent holiday - sacked and on the dole.

Firstly, the facts under the new legislation. All workers have the right to four weeks paid holiday per year, provided that their current contract is for three or more months. This four weeks includes bank holidays. If holidays have not been taken when employment ends, then there is nothing to stop the employer calculating days owed at 1/365th for every day not taken. In this way, workers lose out, so it's best to take leave before your contracts ends.

Unfortunately, under today's flexible employment law, there are a thousand ways for management to get rid of people demanding their “rights”. A cautious approach is needed. If you are being robbed of your holiday entitlement, rather than rushing into the manager's office, it may be better to raise it first with other people you are working with. Unity is strength - if you can approach management collectively, then the possibility of victimisation is greatly reduced. Always put your request in writing, and keep copies. Keep notes of all meetings and communications with management, including dates things are said. If you continue to have trouble getting your holidays, then contact us on our help line for more advice.

Write to catalyst for a full & frank answer to a problem at work. Or contact the ansaphone helpline for advice - 0161 232 7889
Catalyst, SF, PO Box 29, SW PDO, Manchester M15 5HW. solfed@solfed.org.uk 

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