Is it time for a holiday yet?

It most certainly is, and as the major Summer holiday season starts we thought it would be useful to look at holiday contracts, how to handle awkward negotiations and why ensuring holidays are taken is so important.  

So, let’s start with the basic holiday entitlement in the UK

Every employee in the UK has a basic entitlement of 5.6 weeks annual leave: that’s 28 days every year for full-time workers and pro-rata for part-time employees. The European Union’s Working Time Directive states that employees should be taking a minimum of 20 days leave every year. 

We cover bank holiday entitlement – Extra Holiday Entitlement For The Coronation – New Dawn Resources –  a lot but it’s still worth noting that the 28 days entitlement includes the normal statutory bank holidays and anything else depends on the wording of contracts of employment. 

Ultimately most organisations now ensure that employees have that entitlement but it is how that time off is taken and if it is that still remains a sticking point for many organisations. It can also lead to problems if holidays are not handled clearly and fairly.

According to a survey on annual leave carried out by Glassdoor, the average employee takes only 77% of their holiday leave. Reasons given included:

  • Too busy/fear of falling behind 
  • No one can cover role/do the job as well
  • Impression that you are not working hard enough – passed over for advancement/FOMO
  • Poor organisation – first come first served and no system in place to ensure fairness or busy times of the year not accounted for
  • Partner or family have holiday that does not tie in with organisations holiday – this is particularly true with people that work in education

It is acknowledged that an organisation’s ultimate goal is to have happier, healthier employees and taking regular breaks is essential to succeeding in this. 

Having a well-earned break leads to better productivity and a lower absenteeism rate. Having a period of time booked in away from the workplace also gives people something to work towards. Taking regular breaks is part of a healthier work-life balance and ensuring it is seen as part of the organisations culture makes for a positive work environment. 

A great holiday policy, benefits and how holidays are approached leads to the attraction and retention of the best talent.

“Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” ―Maya Angelou

How can you ensure that people are taking time off?

Make sure you are giving your employees the best chance to take their holidays by following some of these handy tips.

  1. Make sure everyone knows about your holiday policies – be clear from the moment people join the organisation. Make your policies clear about requirements for booking time off and the expectations around taking leave. 
  2. Have a shared accessible calendar where people can see when other colleagues are off and book their leave accordingly. You may wish to issue reminders to get people to book in leave early. Use all available internal comms platforms to share and promote information about holiday policies and procedures. 
  3. Let everyone know that you want them to take their holidays, giving them the confidence to ask for time off. Promote the benefits of taking leave. Keep tabs on how much holiday has been booked and remind people of their allowance so that they don’t miss out.
  4. Plan in holidays for the organisation and look at busy periods or popular times for holiday. Be fair about who is taking time off and look at people’s preference.
  5. Think about an incentive scheme that rewards hard work with time off. Could employees start later one morning if they’ve worked particularly hard on a project or completed an important job? Could a team that has achieved fantastic results ‘earn’ a Friday afternoon off. Schemes like this encourage people to work hard but it also boosts morale and demonstrates that they are valued.
  6. Lead by example. Make sure you are seen to be taking time off too.

Happy Holiday everyone – we are making sure we all have some time in August but rest assured we are still on hand to assist with any queries.