Employers and staff have been urged to talk about taking more time off-work.

It has been revealed that as many as 40 per cent of workers have taken less holiday during the pandemic than before it started.

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) commissioned YouGov to ask British employees about how much annual leave or paid time off they had taken since the start of the pandemic when compared to previous years. 

How much annual leave or paid time off employees had taken since the start of the pandemic varied depending on the size of the organisation.

Around 44 per cent of employees at small to medium sized businesses said it is unlikely they will take a holiday any time soon. 

Meanwhile, 35 per cent of employees in large businesses, employing more than 250 people, are now less likely to take paid time off since the start of the pandemic. 

As HR specialists, we know the importance of ensuring both employers and employees take their prescribed annual leave to enjoy a well-deserved break. Not doing so, can often lead to:

Burnout – People become tired and less productive over time, despite their best intentions.

A tired workforce will often lead to lower quality of work and a negative attitude that damages employee engagement.

Sickness absence – Working too many hours for too long can make employees ill. Not being able to take time off can lead to stress, resulting in short or long-term sickness that can cause another set of problems for employers.

Increased staff turnover – Staff who are burned out or unable to take holidays without feeling guilty may feel the need to leave a company. The consequences of this will be the cost of recruitment coupled with the loss of expertise – potentially to your competitors.

Acas has advised employees to use their holiday entitlement within their current leave year where they can.

Susan Clews, Acas Chief Executive, said: “Our poll findings are unsurprising as many workers may have taken advantage of a new law introduced last year, which allows them to carry over most of their paid time off into this year.

“Whilst the easing of pandemic restrictions is good news for many businesses, many staff will be keen to use up the leave they have saved up to take advantage of the summer season.”

In 2020, the UK Government introduced a law allowing workers to carry over up to four weeks of statutory paid holiday over the next two years. This law applies for any holiday that staff do not take due to COVID-19.

For help and advice on matters relating to annual leave and how your business can make most of this, please contact us today.