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Business Backs Call for Extra New Year Holiday

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UK businesses are strongly backing a campaign for an additional New Year bank holiday, according to a new survey.

Seventy-two percent of businesses polled by Croner Consulting believed that adding an extra bank holiday to the beginning of the calendar year would enhance the productivity and morale of their employees.

Britons currently have only eight bank holidays a year, one of the lowest in Europe. Italy tops the league at 16 bank holidays followed by Iceland (15), Spain (14), Germany (14) and France (11). British employers may also incorporate them into an employee's minimum annual leave entitlement of four weeks, which also falls short of its European neighbours.

Of the organisations polled, over 74% of HR professionals agreed that the additional bank holiday would not negatively impact their business. In comparison, 65% of small businesses suggested that they would consider the additional day a greater burden.

Richard Smith, HR expert at Croner Consulting said: "It is widely reported that Britain is one of the hardest working nations in Europe. Recent government reports revealed that the number of people in employment and the total hours we are now working have reached the highest levels ever recorded.

"What our survey illustrates is that offering additional holidays linked to an existing break would not be seen as a problem by most businesses – and would be a way to offer increased entitlement to time off without increasing costs significantly. This would be a welcome boost to employees who could enjoy their New Year's break - and would align the bank holidays in England, Wales and Northern Ireland with Scotland who already enjoy a longer New Year's break.

The Croner survey follows a TUC poll of 20,000 people on the date they would chose for a new bank holiday. The most popular response was October, to coincide with autumn half term.

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