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EMA – Press Release About Four Week Holidays

EMA – Press Release About Four Week Holidays

Four weeks will become the new minimum annual holiday provision from 1 April next year. Some employees already receive more than the current three week minimum, and their holiday entitlement is unlikely to increase, according to EMA Central.

This was one of the key findings of a recent survey of members by EMA Central. When asked if they intend to offer five weeks to those employees who already receive four, over 60% of survey respondents said no.

Most employers (over 60% of respondents) currently offer four weeks holidays after specified service criteria are met. A minority of employers (less than 17 % of respondents) already offer four weeks holidays to all employees from the beginning of their employment.

The survey results reflect the high cost to employers of the planned change to four weeks basic entitlement, according to Paul Winter, Chief Executive of EMA Central.

"Wage costs are a significant cost for any organisation," he said. "Extra holiday time means employees are paid while they are not working, and other employees also need to be paid to carry out that work. It looks as if the change will cost too much for most employers to offer extra holidays to their longer serving employees once four weeks becomes the new minimum.

"This may also reflect the trend to reward productivity and the value added rather than just service," he added.

The survey was completed by approximately 280 respondents from a wide range of industry sectors, and included small employers through to organisations employing several hundred people.

Other findings of the survey:

• The largest group of respondents (24%) came from the manufacturing sector. Paul Winter says this partly reflects the strength of EMA Central's membership base in this area, but he thinks it also demonstrates how important this issue is to employers operating in a tough environment. This sector is less likely than average to provide four weeks of annual holidays for all employees from the commencement of their employment (7.5% compared with an overall 16.9%), but more likely to offer four weeks holidays after specified service criteria are met (85% compared with an overall average of 70%).

• The services sector and government are the sectors most likely to already offer four weeks as a minimum for all employees (over 30% compared with the overall average of 16.9%)

• Employers' willingness to offer four weeks after specified service criteria are met tends to increase with the size of the organisation. Organisations with less than 10 employees are least likely to offer four weeks after specified service criteria are met (43% compared with an overall average of 69.3%). Organisations with over 30 employees are most likely to offer four weeks leave after specified service criteria are met.

• A small minority of respondents (1.8%) currently provide five weeks of annual holidays for all employees from the commencement of their employment

• A minority of respondents (10%) expect to be legally obliged to offer five weeks to employees who currently receive four, because of the wording of their employment agreements.


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