UK employees have a statutory right to at least 28 days’ paid leave a year, plus 8 paid public holidays.
Unfortunately, far too many people in the UK repeatedly fail to take all of their allocated leave days.
In late 2020, we studied the data from our absence management system. We found that, by the last quarter of the year, a third of Brits still had 50% of their holiday left to take.
Why don’t people take holidays?
There are a number of things that might prevent employees from taking time off:
- “Leave” is a Four Letter Word – How would you describe your company culture? If it’s one that champions hard work and maximum productivity at all costs, then there might be a negative perception of holidays in your business. And this might discourage people from taking leave.
- Too Much Work – If everyone’s busy all the time, then many of your employees might think they’ve too much on their plate to take a holiday. This will be compounded if you struggle with staffing levels, meaning that anytime anyone takes a break, the rest of the team will have to pick up the pace.
- Too Much Hassle – If your absence management system relies on a long and tedious series of forms, emails, and spreadsheets, then many employees might simply choose not to bother.
Stress and burnout is a risk to your employees, and your business
Of course, you do. Too much-unplanned absence is terrible for business.
But do you know what’s even worse for business? Stress and burnout. Overworked employees are unlikely to be happy employees. And an unhappy team leads to lower productivity and efficiency and a higher employee turnover.
We all need a break now and then. And guess what? As an employer, you have a legal obligation to prevent your employees from becoming unwell as a result of not taking leave.
This is Regulation 15 of the Working Time Regulations. It’s up to you to encourage your employees to use their leave.
So how can you encourage employees to Take a holiday?
Here are some ideas:
- Change the Conversation. You’re not going to change your company culture overnight. But in the long-term, aiming to move away from being the sort of business that champions maximum output at any cost. Instead, aim to be the sort of business that rewards effort and that recognizes the value of a well-earned break.
- Review Your Operations. You can avoid understaffing and overstaffing by devising an employee rota that works for everyone. Employees will be more likely to take leave if they know that nobody will be forced to pick up the slack while they’re gone.
- Make It Easy. With our absence management system, employees can take a leave request at the touch of a button. Everyone will be able to see the same shared calendar, making it considerably easier for your whole team to take a break without compromising operations.
- Dive Into the Data. Learn to leverage your absence data. For example, you can set triggers for automatic alerts. So if an employee goes too long without taking a break, you can intervene and encourage them to get some rest!
Employees generally return from holidays full of energy and enthusiasm. After the year we’ve all had, your employees certainly need a holiday. So give them a break!