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UK employees are failing to take holiday, how should employers respond? Tips from Adrian Lewis, Commercial Director, Activ Absence

UK employees are failing to take holiday, how should employers respond? Tips from Adrian Lewis, Commercial Director, Activ Absence

According to a new survey[i] from Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest recruitment sites, two in five UK employees polled (40 per cent) reported taking a maximum of just half of their annual leave entitlement during the last holiday year, with the average employee taking just 62 per cent of their allowance.

This study serves as a timely reminder for companies to maintain visibility of their staff’s holiday requests and encourage them to use their annual leave entitlement.

Holidays are good for our health and not taking leave can take its toll. According to the Framingham Heart Study[ii] men who don’t take their holidays are 30% more likely to have a heart attack, while women are 50% more likely.

Managing staff holiday planning effectively can not only benefit employees’ health but also ensure that businesses have sufficient cover during peak holiday season.

The hot weather we’re currently experiencing could prompt more holiday requests as people decide they want to take advantage of the sun, leaving HR professionals in a panic about how to manage the volume of requests to ensure everyone is happy but business continues as usual in the office.

Adrian Lewis, Commercial Director at Activ Absence says, “Employers want to encourage people to take their full holiday entitlement as they know it’s good for health and wellbeing, but they also need to ensure the workplace is fully staffed and avoid too many clashes.

“Unfortunately, too many are in the dark over how much holiday leave staff have left to take, especially if they are relying on spreadsheets, wall planners or paper forms to manage leave. This puts more pressure on HR professionals and makes it more likely errors will occur, resulting in employees booking leave at the same time.

“The solution is absence management software that enables HR teams to easily manage and stay on top of staff holiday planning. A centralised system where holiday leave can be requested and approved at the touch of a button allows for greater transparency, better resourcing and helps business plan more effectively.”

Adrian offers the following tips to help companies stay on top of staff leave:

  • Managers across the business should reinforce the holiday policy and encourage people to take their full entitlement.
  • Sending regular emails reminding staff to book their holidays as early as possible could prompt people into taking time off more regularly throughout the year.
  • Have an efficient technology system in place for managing leave. Cloud-based absence management software allows managers to see in an instant who is off when, helping to avoid clashes. It also makes requesting and signing off holiday leave more efficient.
  • Employers can use software to set up alerts such as automatically prompting staff to book leave if a set level has accrued, to prevent a build-up of annual leave. This useful tool can also prompt managers to speak to the individual concerned to find out why they aren’t taking time off.
  • Absence management software can also flag up people who are taking a lot of time off sick. This allows managers to start a conversation and address what is going on.

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