POSTED: June 04 2021
Why businesses should celebrate time off

Why businesses should celebrate time off

Burnout continues to be a big problem in the workplace, and the stats back this up.

In a recent survey of 2,000 office workers conducted by Spill, a mental health management company, 51% of UK workers said that they have experienced symptoms of burnout over the past 12 months. Despite the growing public awareness of burnout in recent years and the gradual de-stigmatisation of mental ill-health in the workplace, only one in five of those who experienced burnout took any time off for it.

As people managing people, you have a responsibility to not only be aware of the psychological impact of ‘always on’ working cultures, but to make proactive changes. For employers with an annual leave year running from January to December, now could be the perfect time to make a start by reviewing any outstanding leave. While summer holidays abroad still hang in the balance, your employees will still accrue, and should be encouraged to take, annual leave.

What is the importance of annual leave?

At the risk of stating the obvious, quite simply it allows employees to take regular breaks from work so they can rest and switch off from their work to accommodate a reasonable work-life balance. Given the turbulent nature of the last 16 months, having a break from work is likely to be even more important. It should enable them to return to work more motivated and productive than those who do not take regular breaks and there may be a decreased likelihood of employees suffering from burnout or stress, which may also mean a reduction in sickness absence, in comparison to those who do not take regular annual leave breaks.

Steps to take

  • Review annual leave now

As we are over half way through 2021 we would suggest reviewing the outstanding annual leave, and recommend that any outstanding holiday is booked. It should also help to avoid the ‘December rush’  where those with outstanding leave struggle to book time off.

  • Are your processes efficient?

If you are relying on spreadsheets or any other physical forms to manage your annual leave for employees, it could be time to streamline your processes. advo’s absence management portal allows all leave to be requested, booked and viewed from a central portal, meaning a more efficient process and also a reduced likelihood of holiday clashes. We would be happy to demo this for you – contact us today.

  • Carrying over holiday – the law & the importance of record keeping 

As a result of the pandemic, many employees were not reasonably able to take holiday in 2020. As a result, the Government introduced a new law, allowing employees and workers to carry over up to 4 weeks’ paid holiday into their next 2 holiday leave years. This law applies for any holiday the employee does not take because of Coronavirus. Examples include if they’re self-isolating, or too sick to take holiday before the end of their leave year, if they’ve had to continue working and could not take holiday, or if they’ve been furloughed and could not reasonably use it within the holiday year. Please ensure you are keeping a record of this, and are encouraging employees to take their annual leave.

  • Extra Bank Holiday in 2022 – review your contracts of employment now

The May Bank Holiday Weekend will be moved to Thursday 2 June and an additional Bank Holiday on Friday 3 June will see a four-day weekend to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022. Great news – but what does this mean for employers?

The wording in your employment contracts is crucial to determine whether you are required to give employees an extra day off, or whether this needs to be taken from their annual leave entitlement. For example, if an employee’s contract states you recognise eight bank holidays, they would be required to take the extra bank holiday from their annual leave entitlement or work this day.

If the employment contract states that the employee’s annual leave entitlement is a certain number of days plus bank holidays, they will be entitled to the additional day off. The wording here is crucial so please take the time to review these contracts ahead of your annual leave year in which this extra Bank Holiday falls.

It is worth keeping in mind that even where employees do not have a contractual entitlement to paid time off on the additional bank holiday, employers should consider providing this as a gesture of goodwill, where possible, or providing time off in lieu if employees are required to work on that day. This will be especially important after the last 16 months which have been difficult for most. Employers that ignore the additional bank holiday may face a negative reaction from their employees which should be avoided where at all possible.

If you feel you could benefit from further guidance or advice with employee holiday allowances, contract reviews or absence management, please contact advo today. Now then, it’s time to take that holiday!