The summer holidays are here, but are your workers taking the holiday owed to them? According to the TUC (Trades Union Congress) one in twelve UK workers are taking less than the legal requirement of 28 days’ paid annual leave per year. This can include bank holidays.

The TUC also reported that:

  • 2 million workers are receiving no paid annual leave at all
  • Employees were most likely to miss out on holiday in agriculture (14.9%), mining (14.7%), hospitality (13.9%) and education (11.3%)
  • However, because other sectors employ more people, the highest numbers of staff losing out on holiday are in retail (348,000 workers), education (342,000), health and social care (291,000), and hospitality (220,000)

The most common reasons given for not taking holiday leave were unmanageable workloads which did not allow time off, or employers refusing holiday requests. However, not taking holiday entitlement – aside from being unlawful on the employer’s side – can leave workers stressed and have a negative impact on their health, in turn increasing sickness absence, and putting more strain on the business.

What can employers do?

  • Plan shifts and working patterns as far in advance as possible
  • Build the cost of holiday cover into your budgets and forecasts
  • Actively remind staff to book holiday and to take their entitlement
  • Encourage flexibility from staff when they may need to work after hours, but remember it’s a two-way street, so perhaps a holiday request with minimal notice at a quieter period in the business could be accommodated?
  • The working time directive prohibits employees having to work more than 48 hours a week on average – normally averaged over 17 weeks, unless they have opted out. If your staff are exceeding 48 hours per week consistently there is more chance of burn-out.
  • Check who else is available to provide cover if necessary when considering a holiday request – it could be a great opportunity to upskill another employee
  • Bear in mind that the statutory allowance of 28 days can include bank holidays

We found a couple of handy guides on calculating holiday pay and holiday entitlement:

Business Garage can provide expert guidance on holiday pay and other HR matters. Contact our team on 01235 433099 for more information.