annual leave allowance

Annual leave allowance is not fully used by the majority of workers

Annual leave allowance is not fully used by the majority of workers

In this article we discuss reasons why employees are not taking their full annual leave allowance.

Research shows that only just over half of UK workers take their full annual leave.  Across all industries, the average person gets a leave allowance of 32 days but only takes 27. This therefore means employees are forfeiting on average 5 holidays per year.  We look at the reasons why employees may choose not to take holidays, why it’s important that they do take them and what employers can do to ensure employees take their holidays.

Top five reasons why employees are not taking their full annual leave allowance

  1. Workload and deadlines. Some employees may feel overwhelmed by their workload or have looming deadlines that make it difficult for them to take time off. They might worry about falling behind on their tasks or burdening their colleagues with additional responsibilities
  2. Fear of job security. In certain work environments, employees may fear that taking holidays could negatively impact their job security or prospects for promotion. They may believe that being seen as someone who takes time off could be perceived as a lack of dedication or commitment to their work.
  3. Workplace culture and expectations. There may be an unspoken or explicit expectation that employees should prioritise work over personal time. This can create a culture where taking holidays is frowned upon or discouraged, leading employees to forgo their time off to meet these perceived expectations.
  4. Lack of work-life balance. Poor work-life balance can make it challenging for employees to find time to take holidays. If work demands consistently encroach on personal time, individuals may struggle to prioritise and plan for holidays.
  5. Staffing issues. Some employees might feel like they can’t go on holiday as they are worried that there will not be enough staff left for the business to run successfully. There might be times of the year when more staff request to go on holiday, for example during the summer months.  Therefore when there is an influx of leave requests, it’s important to have a process in place to make sure you aren’t left short-staffed. Your holiday policy should outline this process.

How to prevent issues of short-staffing

Prevent issues of short-staffing through too many employees taking leave by outlining rules for taking leave in your holiday policy. This should clearly outline to staff how you manage leave requests. For example, whether it is a first-come first-service approach, how to request them and how much notice they must give. In addition, keep track of who’s taking leave in order to avoid annual leave clashes. HR software can help with this as it can flag up clashes for you, providing information about who is off work and when.

It’s important for employers to create a supportive and inclusive work culture that encourages employees to take holidays and emphasises the importance of work-life balance. You can achieve this by implementing flexible holiday policies, promoting a healthy work environment, and fostering a culture that values and respects the well-being of employees. 

Top five reasons why it is important that employees take their holidays

  1. Rest and rejuvenation. Holidays provide an opportunity for employees to recharge their physical, mental, and emotional batteries. Constantly working without time away can lead to burnout, decreased productivity, and increased stress levels. Taking regular vacations allows individuals to rest, relax, and return to work with renewed energy and focus.
  2. Improved mental health. Stepping away from work and engaging in leisure activities during holidays can significantly contribute to improved mental wellbeing. It helps reduce work-related stress, anxiety, and feelings of overwhelm. Holidays offer individuals a chance to engage in hobbies, spend time with loved ones, pursue personal interests, and focus on self-care.
  3. Increased productivity. Taking regular breaks from work can enhance productivity in the long run. When employees have time off, they have the opportunity to detach from work-related stressors and gain a fresh perspective. This break can stimulate creativity, problem-solving abilities, and motivation, ultimately leading to increased efficiency and better performance upon returning to work.
  4. Work-life balance. Holidays play a big role in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Through taking annual leave, employees can focus more time and attention to their personal lives, including spending quality time with family and friends, pursuing hobbies, and taking part in activities they enjoy outside of work. Achieving a balance between work and personal life is essential for overall wellbeing and long-term job satisfaction.
  5. Preventing burnout. Continuous work without sufficient breaks can lead to burnout – a state of chronic physical and emotional exhaustion. Burnout can negatively impact job satisfaction, engagement, and even physical health. By taking regular holidays, employees can prevent burnout by prioritizing self-care, relaxation, and stress reduction.

Employers should encourage their staff to take their full annual leave allowance to ensure rest and rejuvenation, maintain good mental health, enhance productivity, and achieve work-life balance.  This prevents burnout and strengthens relationships.  By prioritising time off, employees can lead more fulfilling and balanced lives both inside and outside of the workplace. 

If you’re concerned about your employees not taking leave and how best to support them, or if you would like further information on our oneHR software to help manage holidays get in contact with our team of experts.

T: 0330 107 1037


Twitter: @HPC_HRServices

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