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MPs criticised for opting to take 12-week summer holiday

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MPs have decided to take a 12-week summer holiday this year - more than twice what the average UK employee is awarded as annual holiday entitlement.

The recess will commence on 22 July and will run for 82 days until October, because the Conservative Party is holding its annual conference later than usual. The holiday is one week longer than MPs enjoyed in 2008 and has already been decided, despite reports Conservative leader David Cameron asked for the break to start one week later.

Dr Fiona Robson, lecturer in human resource management at Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, told HR magazine: " It is unfortunate timing to announce MPs will receive seven days more holiday than they did last year (and the longest summer break since 2001) given the current state of the economy. At 12 weeks, this is more than double the average holiday allowance for UK workers, which currently stands at five weeks - particularly when you consider the wider picture in terms of MPs' salaries, allowances and pension.

"At a time when the best case scenario for many employees is that they will keep their jobs though they are unlikely to receive a salary increment, it will be difficult to understand how 12 weeks is fair. In the current climate, very few organisations would be in a position to increase their holiday allowances - particularly when they would have to be more than doubled to match those of MPs."

But she added: "In the interests of fairness, I should highlight this is technically 12 weeks away from Westminster, and many MPs may devote significant tranches of time to serving their constituencies but the fact that this is the longest break in eight years during a very turbulent period is likely to be the headline figure!"