Increasing minimum holiday entitlement and wages would help solve the UK’s productivity crisis and stimulate economic growth, a think tank has suggested.
The New Economics Foundation said policy makers need to look at how the nature and level of spending across the economy can be improved, which means increasing workers’ spending power and their consumption of goods and services by giving them more leisure time.
Currently in the UK, employees have among the fewest paid days off in Europe – a minimum of 28 days for full-time workers – compared with 30 to 40 days across most other European countries.
Gradually reducing time spent working without reducing overall pay would also increase spending, the report says, as recreational activities “tend to involve” higher spending than being at work.
Head of Economics at the New Economics Foundation, Alfie Stirling, said:
“Raising demand by giving people more paid time off from work, should now be part of a radical mix of options for any government that is serious about increasing productivity in a way that works for people and society.”
It also suggested that the Low Pay Commission recommends an increase to minimum wages for all ages at the same rate beyond 2020 and that minimum wages should be on par with the UK’s “real” Living Wage by 2025.
Increasing statutory minimum pay is a particularly efficient way of boosting economic demand, NEF says, because workers who earn less are “far more likely” than workers on higher incomes to spend rather than save any increases to salary.
One of the biggest factors to consider for businesses is the increased management required to maintain this. Many employers, specifically in the retail sector, are still relying on manual processes to deal with staff scheduling and holiday entitlement.
With reports from the Resolution Foundation this week stating that one in 20 workers do not receive any paid holiday entitlement and a tenth do not receive a payslip, there is a question mark over the current structures that are in place.
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