Retailers have expressed concern over government plans to increase workers' holiday entitlement from 20 to 28 days a year.
The new entitlement means that employees will no longer have to take bank holidays out of their annual leave. Employers will still have the right to decline requests by staff to take leave or require staff to take holiday on certain days.
It is proposed that statutory annual leave entitlement be increased in two stages, rising from 20 to 24 days on October 1, 2007, and 24 to 28 days on October 1, 2008.
Ramesh Shingadia, a Londis retailer in Southwater, West Sussex, said: "This will certainly be added pressure for independent retailers who are already under tremendous pressure. Wages are one of the biggest costs we face and retailers are going to struggle and be even more cautious about taking on new staff."
While the proposals have been praised by retail workers' union Usdaw, government relations manager at the Association of Convenience Stores, Shane Brennan, believes the new entitlement could hit some retailers hard.
"This will have an impact as there are still a number of retailers who don't offer 28 days' holiday and these retailers will face increased costs," he said. "The problem is that the increases will come on top of other cost burdens including national minimum wage and pension reforms."
Lincolnshire retailer David Smith added: "I think this could really put pressure on retailers. It's effectively an extra tax and comes when many retailers are already struggling to keep up with the yearly minimum wage rises. The government could have introduced different rules for smaller retailers and other businesses."