I was quite shocked to read in askGrapevine HR about a report carried out by Canada Life Group Insurance – that a quarter of employees in the UK didn’t take their full paid holiday allowances last year. I was even more shocked to read that more than one in ten of those who did not use their allowance either felt too guilty to use all of their annual leave or were actively encouraged to stay in work by their organisation. As has been widely reported – stress-related absence is on the rise so I think it would be wise for organisations to encourage people to take their leave entitlement and avoid problems due to absence further down the line.
The report also found that 14% of those who didn’t take leave said it was because they felt they had to stay at work due to staffing shortages (due to maternity leave or colleagues leaving the business for example). This makes me think that some organisations have not planned adequately for scheduled absence or that they have issues with staff recruitment and turnover because of a lack of employee engagement. Of course it could simply be that in these tough economic times, organisations are simply not replacing staff or reducing staff numbers and the workload on the remaining employees has increased proportionately. It’s still a worrying trend as without sufficient breaks and rest employee burn-out is far more likely to occur and absence rates rise. This in itself will have a more detrimental effect on an organisation as unplanned absence puts a much greater strain on co-workers and has serious financial implications as well as affecting staff morale.
Peak holiday season is almost upon us so perhaps this is a good time for your organisation to consider your leave policies and make sure you and your employees take adequate breaks from work. An automated workforce solution can be a really useful tool when it comes to scheduling planned absence and tracking sickness and absence trends across the organisation. It can help identify any worrying trends that should be addressed and help managers schedule holiday leave fairly.
Do you take all your annual leave every year? – Take the quick poll below – I would be interested to hear!