Citizens Advice has said hundreds of bosses are “deliberately flouting the law” by denying workers access to their rights.
Thousands of workers in Britain could be missing out on paid annual leave because they don’t think they’re entitled to it, new figures have revealed.
According to Citizens Advice, half of people on zero hours contracts, and two in five people on temporary contracts, wrongly believe they do not qualify for paid time off, meaning they could be missing out on hundreds of pounds a year.
The charity found that while some employers are misleading employees about holiday entitlement due to bosses’ ignorance, others are deliberately flouting the law and are exploiting workers’ confusion.
In the past year almost 185,000 people got help from Citizens Advice on employment issues – with 10,000 cases specifically about paid holiday.
Over the same period the Citizens Advice webpage on paid holiday had 260,000 visitors.
The charity is now calling on the next government to ensure workers are aware of, and are able to take, the holiday benefits that are mandated by law.
It believes employment rights should be rolled into one Fair Work Authority that can tackle bosses and firms that break the rules.
It has also called for a £50 cap on employment tribunal fees to ensure justice for those who are mistreated.
Care worker denied almost £9,000 in paid leave
Last year, Citizens Advice helped a care worker win back almost £9,000 after he was denied paid leave for five years.
The employee, who worked 48 hours a week, had been told by his employer that night workers were not entitled to paid holiday.
When he visited Citizens Advice, it was calculated that he had incorrectly missed out on paid holiday to the tune of £8,900.
In another case, a woman who worked in the sales sector was told she could only take holiday if she met her sales targets, which is unlawful.
Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: “Half of people on zero hours contracts, and many on temporary contracts, think they are not entitled to paid holiday.
“Thousands are missing out on rights they are entitled to due to a lack of awareness, confusion and in some cases deliberate dirty tactics by employers.
“With more than half of employers having staff working shifts or variable hours, action needs to be taken now to protect workers rights.”