Ministers are being urged to create more bank holidays to help people cope with the “intense” pressures of the world of work.
Workers in England and Wales get eight bank holidays a year, fewer than any other European Union country and lagging far behind the bloc’s average of 12 days.
Germany and France give their workers three additional public holidays a year, while employees in Sweden get 13 days – equivalent to an extra week off.
Slovakia, Slovenia, Finland and Cyprus top the table with 15 days each, enjoying nearly twice as many public holidays as their British counterparts.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) believes all UK workers should get 12 days of public holiday and supports a national conversation about which dates would be most appropriate.
The union has long made the case for an additional day to break up the four-month gap between the August bank holiday and Christmas day.
Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said: “As new technology changes our economy, the benefits should be shared by working people. That means less time at work, more time with family and friends, and decent pay for everyone.
“But instead work is becoming more intense. Workers in Britain put in millions of hours of unpaid overtime every year but get fewer public holidays than their counterparts across Europe.
“Working people deserve a break. And as the days start to get shorter we could all do with something to look forward to. The government should create a new public holiday between now and Christmas.”
The TUC is also calling on the government to strengthen public holiday rights so that people who work bank holidays have the right to premium pay or time off in lieu.