HC Deb 17 November 1970 vol 806 cc396-7W
Sir A. Meyer

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how the number of days in paid holidays compares with those of countries of the European communities, from information available to him from international sources.

Mr. Paul Bryan

It is estimated that about 45 per cent. of manual workers in the United Kingdom are entitled to a minimum of two weeks paid annual holiday per year, about 9 per cent. to between two weeks and three weeks, 44 per cent. to three weeks and the remaining 2 per cent. to more than three weeks. About 25 per cent. of all manual workers are employed in industries and services in which there is provision for additional days of paid holiday according to the individual worker's service with the one employer. Corresponding information is not available for non-manual workers, but most of such employees in the public sector have a basic entitlement to three weeks or more paid holiday. In addition to paid annual holidays, there are about six days of paid public holiday for all workers.

Under existing legislation the minimum annual holiday is 15 working days in the Federal Republic of Germany, 18 in Belgium and Luxembourg, and 24 in France. In some cases, however, collective agreements give more favourable terms. Most Italian agreements provide for a basic annual holiday of 12 working days, while in the Netherlands the agreed period has generally been three weeks since 1964. Furthermore, more legislation and agreements provide for a specified number of additional days' holiday above a certain age, or according to seniority in the firm, or for other reasons. In Germany, for example, it was estimated on 1st January, 1965 that 70 per cent. of wage earners and 41 per cent. of salary earners had an annual holiday of 21 days under collective agreements, that 27 per cent. and 40 per cent. of the same categories had 22 to 24 days and that 3 per cent. and 7 per cent. respectively had 25 or more days of holiday per year. In the same country the law provides for 18 days' holiday from the age of 35 onwards, while disabled workers are entitled by law to six additional days of holiday and young people under 18 to 24 days each year.

The number of paid public holidays fixed by law or agreement is eight on average in France, six or seven in the Netherlands, 10 in Belgium and Luxembourg, 10 to 13 in Germany and 17 in Italy.

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