EU Referendum

Reality Check: Would Brexit risk the loss of holiday pay?

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady saying: Voting to leave the EU risks the paid holidays of millions

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is warning that a British exit from the European Union would put millions of people's holiday pay at risk. Is it right?

Workers are entitled to five weeks and three days of paid holiday a year (including public holidays). The Working Time Regulations of 1998 guarantee four weeks of paid leave as a European minimum. This was increased by the then Labour government by a further eight days from April 2009.

The Working Time Regulations were laid before Parliament in 1998 to implement the EU's Working Time Directive, which required member states to guarantee certain rights for all workers.

If the UK votes to leave the EU on 23 June then the UK government needs to decide which EU-derived UK laws to keep, amend or scrap. So anything, including holiday pay, could be under threat. And, as the TUC points out, there are some voices supporting Brexit who want to limit the application of the Working Time Directive.

The next step is that Parliament has to agree on whether laws are repealed or amended.

Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs would almost certainly oppose any moves to curb paid holiday, as would many Conservatives.

And in any case, it is very difficult to imagine any government risking the wrath of the electorate on matter such as this, which would be very unpopular.

For 35 years before joining the EU, the UK had legislation on paid holidays - starting with the 1938 Holidays With Pay Act.

Reality Check verdict: Unlikely - the UK had paid holiday before it joined the EU, and it would be politically dangerous to cut it back now.

Read more: The facts behind claims in the EU debate

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