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04th June 2014

Should Employees Use All Their Annual Leave?

Summer Beach SceneUK Annual Leave Survey

Many of us will look forward to having some time away from work with the aim to recharge our batteries and relax.  Recent figures from the UK Annual Leave Survey have been released which show that, out of approximately 2,000 UK adults, the average employee only uses three quarters (77 per cent) of their annual leave.  The survey also found that only half of workers used up their complete holiday entitlement for the year.  Do your employees fall into these statistics?

There can be reasons why annual leave isn’t taken; the fear of falling behind with workloads, no particular desire to take holiday (perhaps because an employee lives alone) or simply being very committed to the job. But do we really want our employees to be worn out and burnt out?

Lack of time away from the workplace

On the surface of it, employers may be happy if employees weren’t to take their full holiday entitlement, but that certainly shouldn’t happen within the care sector.  It is worth also being aware that lack of time away from the workplace can lead to some employees feeling tired, stressed and depressed. That can lead to errors, with serious consequences.

So, what should employers consider when managing annual leave?

  • Try to encourage employees to take their annual leave – employees will then return to work feeling rejuvenated and be more productive.
  • School holidays – Most parents want to take this time off through the year.  Put a system in place and ensure its fair for all, even the people who have no dependants.
  • If practical, cover workloads whilst employees are away, this will assist an employee by them not returning to an overload of work.
  • For the employee who doesn’t take annual leave, the cynic in me questions why?  Could they hiding something? Some employers make holiday entitlement mandatory for this very reason.
  • Ordinarily, holiday, or at least statutory holidays, cannot be rolled over to the next year. But when employees are on long-term sick leave holidays can be accrued across years.

With workloads increasing, and the 24/7 culture instilled in our everyday working, this poor take up of holidays creates worrying statistics.  Employers would be wise to act on them.

Anita Manfredi of Employer Solutions – QCS HR Expert Contributor

Topics: Human Resources

Sarah Riley

Senior Customer Care Executive

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