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More holidays could cost £240m a year

30 January 2006

Proposed changes to statutory holiday entitlement could cost the hospitality industry up to £240m a year, it was revealed last week.

The new Government proposals set out in the Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) Work and Families Bill would prevent bank holidays from being counted within the statutory holiday entitlement of 20 days.

The change would see full-time workers' statutory holiday entitlement rise 40%, from 20 to 28 days annually.

This could cost the hospitality sector an extra 4.8 million holiday days a year, warned the British Hospitality Association's (BHA) deputy chief executive Martin Couchman.

Speaking at the Master Innholders Conference in London last week, he said: "The cost could be as high as £240m, but it may be less as some employers will just muddle through without the staff. It could well cost the industry £200m."

Couchman warned: "The changes will not help the industry's staff shortages and will only cost employers more, as they will still have to pay the staff on holiday."

With 600,000 workers in the hospitality industry, BHA figures suggest up to a third of employers currently include bank holidays as part of workers' annual holiday entitlement.

Amanda Scott, general manager of London's Waldorf Hilton, said the group didn't include bank holidays within the statutory entitlement allocation.

She said: "In addition to statutory entitlement, we also give bank holidays and additional holidays based on length of service as an incentive. We work long hours in this industry and everyone needs a chance to recharge their batteries."

A DTI spokesman said: "One of the measures introduced by the Government in the Work and Families Bill was an enabling power to prevent bank holidays being included in annual leave entitlement. This will be subject to full consultation and there has been no announcement about that yet."

By Emily Manson

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