Avoiding Annual Leave Build-up

By Rachael Smedley | Absence, News & Press | 5 min read

Recently, Edays hosted a webinar in which we were joined by Paul Holmes, Managing Director of Wirtgen Group. During the webinar, we discussed the topic of the annual leave build-up. If you missed the webinar, there’s a recording here but we’ve also pulled together the key takeaways from the webinar below so keep on reading if you want to hear more.

The statistics
Back in July, we were studying our numbers and data. Using hundreds of thousands of lines of anonymized data from our 1500+ customers, we found on average, employees started 2021 with 31% more leave entitlement. Focusing on just one month, we isolated June and found there were 36% more leave requests than any other June on record. Not only that, but we also found the data showed employees had, on average, over 91% more holiday days remaining in June, vs any previous year on record. Quite frightening statistics given that at that point, there were only 6 months left in the calendar year for most.
In terms of what this means for actual businesses, it means many are faced with annual leave build-up – for every 100 employees, it means there could be an extra 900 days of annual leave to use between June – December.

 

Impacts of the Annual Leave Build-up – business impacts
The build-up of annual leave is likely to bring impacts, both to your business and to your people. Business impacts may include resourcing issues such as delays to projects, delayed revenue recognition and productivity of staff might be zapped as a result.
Other impacts may include financial issues as well as your HR team being swamped with requests relating to holiday such as holiday booking requests or people wanting to understand how much holiday they have left and when they can use it – this is on top of managing other additional HR tasks the pandemic has bought such as managing Furlough and Working From Home arrangements.

Impacts of the Annual Leave Build-up – people impacts
Less holiday being used might lead to higher sickness levels as people may feel run down if they’re not taking sufficient time to themselves. Alongside this, employees may become stressed and even burnt out, this could also lead to presenteeism. With more employees requesting leave, it could reach a point in your organization where not all leave requests are accepted. Furthermore, if more employees are on annual leave, it’s likely to bring extra pressure to both employees and managers who are in the business as they cover those on holiday.

Real life perspective
Reading these stats might be quite shocking, even scary, for some of you. To try and put your worries at ease, we spoke to Paul Holmes, Managing Director at Wirtgen Group.
Last year, as many did, Wirtgen furloughed around two thirds of their workforce which meant quite a lot of employees’ holiday was carried over into this year. Wirtgen were able to recognize quite early on in the year that people were starting to store up holiday and something needed to be done about it otherwise when the pandemic was lifted, they’d be an influx of holiday requests. With uncertainty around when lockdown restrictions would ease, they realized they needed to encourage employees to be taking holiday for both their mental and physical health as well as for the businesses needs to ensure that half the workforce wasn’t suddenly off when restrictions eased. Using powerful reporting functions in Edays in around May this year, Wirtgen were able to review on a department by department basis where the pinch points were and what resource would be needed for the rest of the year. They used Edays to understand where employees holidays were and who had booked what. They then contacted employees who hadn’t booked sufficient holiday and had conversations to encourage them to use holiday. Being open and clear with minimum staffing level expectations, they were able to encourage employees to take annual leave. Thanks to the fact that Edays can allow you to see colleagues’ holidays ensured that employees were mindful when booking annual leave so as to not cross over or let the team fall below minimum staffing levels. Edays has greatly helped Wirtgen to manage absence and avoid any catastrophes.

 

Easing the effects
As Paul explained, Edays greatly helped Wirgten deal with their annual leave build-up. If you’re in the midst of dealing with this build-up or want to avoid it all together, it’s worth investing in absence management software such as Edays. Edays is freeing the world of absence headaches. Some of our many benefits which can ease the build-up or help you avoid it all together includes the ability for you to create intelligent reports relevant to you. Our reports enable you to spot patterns and trends in employees’ absence before they become issues.
In addition to this, you have the option to create a number of alerts which can be useful for flagging if employees haven’t taken sufficient holiday by certain periods in your calendar.
Further to this, Edays is very user-friendly and intuitive to use, users can book holiday or log absence from anywhere at any time, therefore encouraging users to take the time off they deserve because Absence Matters. Book a demo if you want to learn more.