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Despite millions of Brits heading off on summer holidays, a large percentage of employees feel as though their employer actively swayed them away from taking time off. This can have a huge impact on the health and wellbeing of an individual, as annual leave is an important part of relaxing and rejuvenating. The time away from the workplace helps employees to avoid burnout, stress and being overworked. 

Why Do Some Employers Discourage Annual Leave?

According to a survey by Just Eat for Business, 60% of employees have been discouraged from taking annual leave. Plus, 40% have had their annual leave requests denied or amended, meaning they were unable to take the holiday they wanted. For the majority of cases, staff shortages and workloads were the given reasons. This highlights how many employers are not realising the importance of employee annual leave. 

This could be linked to businesses struggling to recruit after the COVID-19 pandemic, but it shouldn’t fall to existing employees to pick up the slack. It’s likely that this would lead to employees feeling overwhelmed, unhappy and overworked. The research also found that 10% of employees do not feel comfortable requesting time off for mental health reasons. 

Over a third of employees spoken to as part of the survey explained that their employer has a ‘use it, or lose it’ policy regarding unused holiday; if it’s not used by the end of the year, the employee loses it. Though it’s important for annual leave to be spread out across the year to ensure there is always a team of people available to work, staff should have the freedom to use their holiday at times that work for them.

How Can Employers Encourage Employee Annual Leave

When employees are encouraged to use their holiday allowance, they are more likely to enjoy the time off, which helps to keep their health and wellbeing in check. Considering how beneficial it can be for a business to have rested and rejuvenated staff, it’s something that all employers should be doing. Encouragement could come in the form of an email reminder, or by managers keeping on top of who is and isn’t taking their recommended breaks. 

The survey mentioned above also found that 26% of annual leave requests are processed manually, which can be a time consuming task. Not only does this require the time and focus of a manager, but it makes it harder to see who has booked annual leave and who hasn’t. This could lead to staff shortages and unexpectedly high workloads, with too many being away from work at once.

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