Most white collar businesses pay staff for the eight annual bank holidays, while service industries such as retailers have generally been exempt. However, the government aims to make time equivalent to bank holidays additional to holiday entitlement, an idea which has been incorporated in the Work & Families Bill which could be enforced as early as next year.
David Patient of Nearbuys in Canvey Island, Essex, said: "I support improving benefits for workers but it will mean I have to find eight days holiday for 10 staff. It's just putting more pressure on small retailers."
Pete Head of Anglian Convenience Stores in Norfolk said the extra cost of giving his 460 staff an extra eight days paid holiday a year could put him - and others like him - out of business.
It is not yet clear how casual and part-time workers will be affected by the legislation and the Association of Convenience Stores is trying to get more detail from the DTI.
Public affairs manager James Lowman said it was still not clear exactly how the changes would be implemented. He added: "We have no problem if they are about preventing people having to take bank holidays as part of their holiday entitlement but to require an extension to 28 days would put a big burden on retailers."