holiday entitlement

The number of employees failing to use their holiday entitlement is on the rise

The number of employees failing to use their holiday entitlement is on the rise

It is reported only 40% of UK employees took a maximum of just half of their annual leave entitlement during the past holiday year. As Holiday entitlement is a basic employment right, why is this happening?


The online survey, conducted by Glassdoor, gathered research from 2,000 full and part-time employed adults. A shocking statistic identified that only 43% of UK employees took between 91-100% of holiday entitlement.


The survey also gathered information on the amount of work employees did whilst on holiday. The survey results showed that 23% of those on holiday regularly checked emails whereas 15% continued to work whilst away.


In an environment where businesses are under more pressure than ever to generate profits and receiving hundreds of emails daily has become the norm, it appears employees are struggling to switch off. This is despite employers attempting to encourage their staff to switch off during their annual leave.


Glassdoor also reported on differences between the genders, citing that females (52%) are more likely so switch off from whilst they take time off work when compared to males (46%).


Young workers (18-24 year olds) are more likely to not use their full holiday entitlement with only 35% taking all of their allowance. However, people aged between 25-34 years averaged slightly better with only 40% taking their full holiday entitlement.


Glassdoor managing director, John Lamphiere, said: “The fact that 40% of us take a maximum of just half our holiday allowance and a significant amount feel they need to work whilst being away is not a good long-term solution and will only result in employees who may want to jump ship for greener pastures”.

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics revealed three million UK employees work more than 48 hours a week. This has increased by 250,000 employees since 2011.


Under the Working Time Regulations, all workers have the right to paid holidays regardless of the hours they work. Employees are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 week’s paid annual leave (28 days for employees working 5 days a week). This will include time off over Christmas, Easter and any Bank Holidays.


Some employers may not agree to allow employees to carry over any annual leave from the previous year. However, an employee cannot carry over a year’s worth of leave entitlement. The EU law grants 4 weeks of annual leave per year therefore it must be taken within that leave year.


It should be made very clear to employees that they must come to an agreement with their employer and plan their holidays in advance or else they could risk losing their holiday allowance. Employers can’t stop their employees from taking their holiday entitlement during the year. However, this doesn’t mean employees can take leave at any time. Employers can control how an employee takes annual leave so they are all away at sensible and suitable times. For example, an employer won’t allow all employees from a department to take leave at the same time.


Managers also need to set expectations on employees looking at their work during their time off – emphasise that work should be handed over where possible and put forward the benefits of switching off work.


If you need any support or guidance in holiday entitlement, please contact a member of the HPC team:


T: 0844 800 5932


Twitter: @HPC_HRservices



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