Why are employees failing to take their entire annual leave?

Just 28% of employees had used up their entire allocated annual leave by November

Why are employees failing to take their entire annual leave?

As the January blues finally give way to the contentment of February, employees begin the plan their next move. No – we’re not talking about job-hopping – it’s time to start thinking about sunnier climates.

A recent study from Lee Hecht Harrison Penna found that workers aren’t using up all of their holiday allowance – and that by the end of 2018, most employees had more than a week left over.

After interviewing over 2,000 staff, the report highlighted the serious problem of presenteeism in our workforces. Just 28% of employees had used up their entire allocated annual leave by November – leaving 72% of staff with owed days off.

Part-time employees ended the year with the most left-over leave – in fact, those working less than eight hours a week had almost two weeks (9.8 days) of annual leave unused.

“Companies give their staff holiday allowance for a reason – to take time away from the office to enjoy a break, relax and reboot for when they return to work,” warned JC Townend of Lee Hecht Harrison Penna.

“It’s important for workers to take all of their annual leave so they don’t risk burning out from exhaustion. Equally bosses should be encouraging their staff to take all of their annual leave. It means they will have a team that are energized and will come back to work with new ideas and a renewed motivation to perform at their best.”

Presenteeism was cited as one of the major concerns of HR leaders going into 2019. A report from Canada Life found that 93% of workers chose to go into the office even when seriously unwell. And whilst they may believe themselves to be showing commitment to their company, in reality they’re costing the economy billions every year.

The report found that 76% of employees didn’t believe themselves to be too ill to stay off work, whilst 31% said they’d panic about their workload piling up if they took time off. It’s important for employers to have open and honest conversations with their staff about their wellbeing – and explain to them that they are certainly not obligated to come into the workplace if they’re unwell. Otherwise, the impact on both morale, productivity and mental health will be devastating.

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