UK workers are missing out on legal holiday entitlement

6th August 2018

A new report from the TUC (Trades Union Congress) has revealed that 2.2 million UK employees are losing out on their legal holiday entitlement, which equates to £3bn of paid leave per year.

UK law states that full time workers must receive a minimum of 28 days of paid leave per year, including public holidays. However a variety of factors are depriving 9.2% of female workers and 7.2% of male workers of some of their leave. These include:

  • Unrealistic workloads resulting in workers feeling unable to take time off
  • Employers refusing to approve holiday requests and micro-manging their staff’s leave
  • Employers simply not knowing the law.

As well as simply denying people of their deserved time off, this issue carries some very serious risks. Studies show that “people who work excessive hours are at risk of developing heart disease, stress, mental illness, strokes, and diabetes, which also impacts on co-workers, friends and relatives”.

If your employees don’t utilise all of their holiday entitlement, it’s not just them who will suffer. The resulting stress from overworking will undoubtedly have a knock on effect at work. You should want people to have their time off, not just because legally they have to, but because it makes for more relaxed, healthy individuals, who are in turn better, more productive workers.

So, how can you ensure your employees are not overworked and are taking off the time that they not only need, but that they rightfully deserve by law?

  1. Support and promote work-life balance. Foster an environment whereby your staff know that you value their time outside work, so that they are unafraid to put in holiday requests.
  2. Look out for you employees’ wellbeing. If you notice someone exhibiting any of the symptoms described above, consider that they may need some time off. Educate staff on the importance of self-care and encourage them to practise this.
  3. Make the holiday request process easy. HR software allows employees to take control of their own absences, whether that be for illness or annual leave, and lets you approve and manage this inside and outside of the office. Approve holidays at the touch of a button rather than with complicated processes and system.
  4. Know the law. Sounds obvious, but as mentioned above it has transpired that the reason some people are missing out on time off is simply because their employers don’t understand that it’s a legal requirement.

Encourage your staff to work to live, rather than live to work. They will thank you for it.