Workers are failing to take the full amount of holiday they are entitled to, according to a survey of more than 2,000 staff by workplace review website Glassdoor.
The survey found that staff on average use only 77 per cent of their annual leave. With British law requiring almost all employers to give 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday per year (including bank holidays), this means workers are giving up more than six days away from their jobs every year. The survey also revealed that people aged 16 to 24 are least likely to take off all the days they are due.
Workers need the time off that they have earned to rest and recharge. Working too hard for too long can be unhealthy and unproductive. Sensible employers will encourage their workers to use their holiday allocations; where necessary trade unions should ensure members take up their entitlement.
Another disturbing finding was that many workers do some work while they are supposed to be on leave, either because they have a difficulty switching off or because their manager or colleagues have contacted them. Some 44 per cent of respondents admitted they did some work while on holiday.
The most common reason cited for working on holiday was fear of falling behind; a minority did so because they were fearful of losing their jobs; others because they felt no one else could do their work!
Some 8 per cent believe working is better than not working (obviously they need help to find ways to entertain themselves).
Often unmanageable workloads and economic pressures can make people reluctant to take time off properly. Another lamentable feature is the increasingly common trait of senior staff feeling their presence at work is almost always required. Smartphones have added to the problem as they pressure people to be “always on”.
Holiday entitlements were not always a feature of work. In many industries they had to be fought for by previous generations of unionised workers. So, get a life, take your holidays – and learn to relax. ■