Brexit paper gives Brits 14 weeks leave

By Benedict Brook

Brits could have been as happy as these stock photo people are pretending to be. Photo / 123rf
Brits could have been as happy as these stock photo people are pretending to be. Photo / 123rf

Let's face it, Britain is not exactly united on the prospect of leaving the European Union.
But have the British Government found just the sweetener that will bring over even the most ardent Europhile to the Brexit cause?

How about giving everyone a minimum of 14 weeks leave from work? A cool three and half months away from the grindstone.

This week the UK Government won a crucial vote in the House of Commons allowing it to proceed with it's plans to leave the EU.

In Downing Street's white paper, which provides a road map to Brexit, the Government states that current UK holiday entitlements will be preserved post-withdrawal because Brits already enjoy 14 weeks leave compared to a mere four weeks across the EU.


A graph in the white paper, entitled 'EU and UK employment law', shows British workers getting more than three times the paid leave of their continental counterparts. And a massive seven times more generous paid maternity leave.

The accompanying text says, "These rights were the result of UK Government actions and do not depend on membership of the EU.

"The Government is committed to strengthening rights when it is the right choice for UK workers and will continue to seek out opportunities to enhance protections."

Which may come as a surprise to hard working Brits who, up to now, have received around five weeks, or 28 days, mandated leave when public holidays are also taken into account.

The whole thing is, of course, a monumental stuff up. Britons are only entitled to slightly more holiday leave than that mandated by EU employment law.

Paid leave in the UK is still far behind many other EU countries with the French, Spanish and Finnish enjoying 36 days off, and the Austrians topping the vacation leave league with 38 days - or more than seven weeks - off due to the country's love of a public holiday.

A spokesman for the UK's Department for Exiting the European Union - that's a genuine name for a Government ministry - admitted the gaffe.

"There was an error in one of the many charts in the paper, where two bar charts were transposed, which has now been corrected."

It has led some Brexit critics to suggest the Government is rushing its exit proposals to meet a deadline of formally beginning the process of leaving Brussels during March, a deadline set by Prime Minister Theresa May.

Still, it's easy to feel sorry for the Brits and their leave entitlements. At around 30 days per year (depending on how many public holidays your state has), here in Australia, we enjoy more days of R and R than the Poms.

- news.com.au

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