Thursday 21 January 2021 / 2:11 PM Andy McDonald / Workers' Rights

Labour to force vote to protect holiday pay and 48-hour weekly working limit

Labour will force a vote in the House of Commons on Monday to protect holiday pay entitlements and safe working limits following Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng’s admission this week that employment protections are being reviewed to see which to scrap and which to keep.

Despite repeated but vague promises from Ministers that they have no plans to rip up the rights of workers, it has now been revealed that the Government will consult on changes which could mean:

  • Ending the inclusion of overtime in how holiday pay is calculated, leaving workers hundreds of pounds out of pocket
  • A longer working week, with no legal cap on the number of hours employers can make their employees work
  • An end to the legal right to rest breaks at work

Labour’s motion calls on the Government to specifically rule out any changes to the 48-hour working week, rest breaks at work, or holiday pay entitlements. The motion also calls on the Government to outlaw fire and rehire tactics.

Taking a wrecking ball to these hard-won rights would leave workers and their families worse off and risk the safety of key workers including hauliers and airline workers who are currently legally protected from working excessive hours.

Andy McDonald MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Employment Rights and Protections, said:  

“In the middle of a pandemic and an economic crisis, Ministers are considering ripping up workers’ rights. This could see people across the country worse off, losing out on holiday pay and working longer hours.

“Scrapping the 48-hour working week cap could mean many key workers feel pressured to work excessive hours. The Government should be focused on securing our economy and rebuilding the country, not taking a wrecking ball to hard-won rights.

“The Government’s true colours are on full display once again and it’s clear their priorities couldn’t be further from those of workers and their families. But on Monday MPs across the House will have a chance to vote on the side of working people and protect our key workers.”


The Opposition Day debate motion, tabled today, is as follows:

Keir Starmer

Andy McDonald

Ed Miliband

Angela Rayner

Lucy Powell

Mr Nicholas Brown

The Government’s Plans for Employment Rights

That this House believes that all existing employment rights and protections must be maintained, including the 48-hour working week, rest breaks at work and inclusion of overtime pay when calculating some holiday pay entitlements, and calls upon the Government to set out to Parliament by the end of January 2021 a timetable to introduce legislation to end “fire and re-hire” tactics.