• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

U.K. Mandates 28 Days Paid Vacation

The Labour Party is paying off its union supporters by forcing firms to pay workers for not working.

British workers will get an extra eight days of paid vacation a year under new regulations published today, narrowing the gap with other European nations.

Employees will be entitled to a statutory minimum of 28 days including eight public holidays, Trade and Industry Minister Jim Fitzpatrick told Parliament in a written statement. The minimum will rise to 24 days from 20, starting in October, and to 28 days from April 2009. The move will help 6 million mainly low-paid and low-skilled workers, Fitzpatrick said. “This extra time off will make a real difference in the lives of hard-working people — a proper rest from work and more time to spend with their families and friends,” he said.

The increase is part of package of commitments agreed between labor unions and Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government in 2004. The Warwick Agreement was designed to avert the threat of mass disaffiliation by unions, which help to finance the ruling Labour Party, before the May 2005 general election.

The move brings U.K. workers closer into line with their counterparts in other parts of Europe. A German worker gets up to 32 days, a French worker 36 while a worker in Austria gets 38 days, according to the Trades Union Congress, an umbrella group representing more than 6 million workers in the U.K.

I don’t doubt that people will enjoy having more time off, although it’s far from clear why they should be entitled to it. Or, if they are, why it shouldn’t be financed from the public treasury rather than by firms having to do without the services of the laborers they are nonetheless forced to pay.

Related Posts:

  • None Found

About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Sadly this means you get back to work just in time for the Zombie attack.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Tlaloc says:

    I don’t doubt that people will enjoy having more time off, although it’s far from clear why they should be entitled to it.

    Because we aren’t ants.
    Because businesses need to understand they exist to serve society, not vice versa.
    Because it’s right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  3. M1EK says:

    SD, good one. I snorted some soda.

    JJ, as to why it’s mandated, well, we might disagree with the amount, but consider the crap we get in this country. I’d gladly trade 20% of my salary for 10% more vacation time but have never found any employer remotely that flexible, and I supposedly work in one of the more flexible fields out there.

    Heck, we only have the remnants of the 40 hour week due to governmental fiat as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. James Joyner says:

    I’d gladly trade 20% of my salary for 10% more vacation time

    That’s a hell of a trade-off.

    I’ve generally been in industries that had above-average vacation time, although I’ve had jobs (recently) that only gave 10 days plus holidays. Even there, though, I had the ability to take unpaid leave in reasonable quantities.

    Because businesses need to understand they exist to serve society

    No, they don’t. They exist to provide a living for the proprietor.

    It’s one thing to force firms to pay for negative externalities, like pollution or traffic problems, that they create. It’s not reasonable to force them to provide services that we deem “good.” If we determine, collectively, that getting 15 days or whatever time off is essential to our mental health, then we should pay for it collectively, not foist it on others by state coercion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  5. William d'Inger says:

    I’m happy to see that in Europe. The deeper they slide into socialism the greater America’s economic advantage becomes. Now if only we can get the Chinese to revert to Maoism …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  6. I disagree Mr. d’Inger. We need competition or we too will become complacent and prey to the same populist statism so evident in Europe.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Tlaloc says:

    No, they don’t. They exist to provide a living for the proprietor.

    Then we have no reason to allow them. They exist only so ong as we allow them. We allow them only so long as they serve the common good.

    If they choose to prioritize their profits over the common good that’s fine, we’ll simply foreclose on them, sell off their assets and in the worst cases put them in jail (think enron and WR Grace). Maybe the others will learn to be good citizens.

    There is no right to own a business. It’s a privelege, and it’s one they’ll earn or lose.

    It’s not reasonable to force them to provide services that we deem “good.”

    Why not? We’re giving them something (the privelege of owning a business) we can ask any price we want in return, and in good market fashion if they find the price too high they can seek out some other country that will be cheaper.

    Why should they get something for nothing? Why shouldn’t they have to earn the privelege by providing a net positive to society in excess of the resources they consume?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  8. James Joyner says:

    They exist only so ong as we allow them. We allow them only so long as they serve the common good.

    This isn’t the Soviet Union.

    There is no right to own a business. It’s a privelege, and it’s one they’ll earn or lose.

    You seem to have things reversed. According to our founding document, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” We’re not subjects but citizens.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Tlaloc says:

    This isn’t the Soviet Union.

    No it’s not, but what has that to do with anything? Are we not allowed to regulate business all of a sudden?

    You seem to have things reversed. According to our founding document, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” We’re not subjects but citizens.

    True but no part of the constitution gives you the right to drive, or the right to own a nuclear power plant. These are priveleges that have to be earned. Running a business is another. Priveleges are not rights. Rights are universal. Privelges are not. Rights cannot be easily revoked. Priveleges can.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  10. uh_clem says:

    I’d gladly trade 20% of my salary for 10% more vacation time

    I can only hope you don’t crunch numbers for a living. If you earn $80k/year and get 10 vacation days it would cost you $16,000 for an additional one day off.

    I value vacation time more highly than most Americans, but that’s steep even for me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. M1EK says:

    Yeah, the 20% figure was bad logic. What I meant in my head is that I’d be happy to take a pay cut of DOUBLE what they would have paid me for each individual day of vacation.

    So, in other words, offer me 5 more days vacation, and cut my pay by the equivalent of 10 days, and I’m all over it. That’s basically offering “double unpaid leave”, and yet I still have never worked anywhere where anything remotely like that was an option.

    Ideological libertarians think the employment market already works this way. They’re smoking crack. Even just plain old unpaid leave is rarely an option, James, in any field, except for the types mandated by government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Tlaloc,

    What is your basis for regarding the running of a business as a privilege that has to be earned, rather than a right?

    Suppose I decide to rent floor space and start selling, let’s say, inexpensive computers and software. The person renting me floor space is agreeable to doing so. The customers like the computers and software and think the price is good. I have some knack for running the business so I’m able to turn a profit. Everyone involved is acting in accordance with their own perceptions of their interests. Who is losing here? Why do I have to “earn” the privilege of doing this?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. the real John Adams says:

    Tlaloc, each individual of the Society has a right to be protected by it in the enjoyment of his life, liberty, and property, according to standing laws. He is obliged, consequently, to contribute his share to the expense of this protection; and to give his personal service, or an equivalent, when necessary. But no part of the property of any individual can, with justice, be taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his own consent, or that of the representative body of the people. In fine, the people of this commonwealth are not controllable by any other laws then those to which their constitutional representative body have given their consent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. M1EK says:

    What Tlaloc was probably getting at, although in a poorly worded way, is that limited liability corporations (most ‘businesses’) are a legal construct granted and regulated by the state, not an inalienable right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0