No time for a holiday?

Are you one of the many Brits that’s too overloaded at work to use your holiday entitlement this year? Or perhaps there’s another reason you won’t be booking much time off?

This is something of an annual issue. 44% of British professionals opted not to use their full holiday allowance in 2018 – and almost 1/4 (23%) had 6 or more unused days by the end of the year.

What’s more, a new national survey suggests 54% of people won’t benefit from their full entitlement this year either. So, why are so many employees reluctant to book a break from work?

Why many Brits aren’t using all their holiday allowance…

  • 1/4 of people report that they ‘feel guilty’ to use their contractual allowance, blaming their employer’s culture for this. In addition, respondents identified some more specific reasons that could be at the root of their reluctance…
  • Top of the list was being ‘too busy’ to book time off (38%), followed by:
  • Having ‘nowhere to go’ (23%)
  • Not needing as much allowance (19%)
  • Enjoying their job too much (8%)
  • A disapproving boss (7%)
  • And ‘peer pressure from colleagues’ (5%).

The article also explores some related issues. From the prevalence of unpaid overtime to being contacted by work while on leave.

But science says you need a holiday!

Research conducted on men found that those who took shorter holidays generally ‘worked more and slept less’. The post argues that this is perpetuating stress issues and the risk of burnout.

We’re assuming these findings would also apply to female employees, who last year missed out on even more paid leave than their male counterparts.

Perhaps it’s time to review your work-life balance and whether you’re happy with your current lifestyle. If you’re not, there may be better options for you.

Employers and managers should also look to create a culture that encourages everyone to use their holiday entitlement. Booking a temp to cover annual leave needs is a great place to start. Call us on 01225 313130 to discuss how this could work for your business.



The latest salary news

Sharing four of the latest salary news findings. How many of these ongoing issues can you relate to?

1) The monthly money struggle

Source: onrec

  • The majority of people (64%) are working beyond their contractual hours. Yet more than half of employees (55.1%) are struggling to meet their financial needs at the end of each working month.
  • Respondents are working anywhere from £1,607.08 to £12,045.60 of unpaid overtime each year.
  • Still, most workers (61.8%) are entering their overdrafts before the month is out, while almost 1/3 of respondents (32.2%) are unable to clear their credit card on a monthly basis.
  • In addition, 74.9% of people think they’re currently underpaid for their job role.

2) Working in insecure, low-paid positions

Source: Personnel Today

  • It can’t help matters that 1 in 6 UK employees are undertaking ‘insecure, low-paid’ jobs.
  • This accounts for 5.1 million people; 2 million of which are working parents.
  • Younger workers are most affected. That said, 46% of those working insecure, low-paid roles are over the age of 35.
  • As a result, the Living Wage Foundation has launched a new campaign titled ‘Living Hours’. This calls for organisations to pay the ‘real Living Wage’ as well as committing to advance notice for shift workers, more accurate contracts, and minimum working hours.

3) The over-30s still require financial support

Source: HR News

  • With the above findings in mind, it’s little surprise that many employees aged over 30 are still asking for financial help from their parents.
  • This age group is the most likely to request financial support (45%).
  • 42% of parents also admit to diving into their ‘own savings and disposable income’ to provide support, even though this may affect their own financial security in the future.
  • We’re not talking small sums either. 1 in 5 parents has contributed more than £11,000, with 1 in 10 giving more than £21,000 to fund large purchases, such as cars and homes.
  • The top 10 purchases that are being funded by parents are listed here.

4) The fear of asking for a pay rise

Source: HR News

  • Despite the prevalence of financial concerns, more than 1/2 of employees are afraid to ask for a pay rise.
  • Some people don’t know how to phrase their requests (16%), others don’t want to appear greedy (15%),  or are ‘scared of asking the boss’ (12%) or simply worry they’ll be ‘turned down’ (12%).
  • Although, 37% of people feel so confident in requesting a pay rise that ‘nothing would stop them’ from doing so.

Salary tip: regularly researching local jobs in your sector will help you to gauge whether you’re receiving (and/or paying your team!) a competitive salary. 



Is a 4-day week the future norm?

Could a 4-day week become the new ‘norm’ for employees and help solve the nation’s working challenges? This is the core theme of multiple HR and recruitment news features published within the past fortnight.

Living in the overtime capital

The UK has sadly earned itself the moniker of ‘unpaid overtime capital of Europe.’ The average full-time employee now works around 6.3 hours of unpaid overtime weekly. This amounts to £5,000 per person each year, according to ADP research data.

You could assume this means we’re flying ahead in the productivity stakes, however, the opposite is true. What’s more, our culture of overwork could actually be at the root of this problem.

  • It’s said that the Danes are ‘23.5% more productive per hour,’ despite the fact they work 4 hours less each week.
  • The Republic of Ireland is also 62.7% more productive, yet works less than 40 hours per week. The UK averages 42 hours.
  • Apparently, if changes aren’t made, ‘it would take 63 yearsfor UK employees to receive the same amount of leisure time as the rest of Europe.

Employees call for a 4-day week

Alongside the productivity issues, UK professionals are also feeling increasingly stressed. More than 1 in 3 people feel more stressed than they did just two years ago. The respondents suggest this is due to:

  • Increased workloads (66%)
  • ‘Changing relationships’ at work (30%)
  • Not having control over their work (27%)

On being asked what would help lower their stress levels, the participants said:

  1. A 4-day working week (Almost 1/3: 30%)
  2. Greater management support (25%)
  3. Reduced responsibilities, or other work changes (13%)
  4. Stress management training (6%)
  5. Regular exercise (5%)
  6. Not receiving work emails outside of their contracted hours (5%)

Various views on the 4-day week

It’s suggested that technological advances should make a 4-day working week feasible. Yet some employers and employees have their concerns…

  • Businesses worry about paying the same salaries for reduced workloads and professionals fear that they’ll end up working fewer days yet even longer hours. Others worry that they’ll have to squeeze their existing workloads into a briefer timeframe.
  • Several examples are provided in the above-linked piece. One of which is a Surrey-based trial in which employees will work an extra hour a day in order to shorten their working week to four days/32 hours for full-timers. The workers’ stress levels will be compared at the end of it. It will be interesting to see whether the longer days/shorter weeks outweigh the associated concerns.
  • One German-company has taken a different approach: reducing each working day from eight hours to five. They say this has resulted in reduced stress and improved work-life balance. They have, however, had to implement some practical changes to help employees manage their workloads. This included reevaluating ‘social media usage and finding weekly routines’.

In conclusion…

While it doesn’t appear that 4-day working weeks will become the imminent norm, don’t be surprised if you see more UK employers experimenting with this notion. In the meantime, are there any jobs that more closely match your working priorities? For example, those with reduced commutes or more favourable hours or shifts, flexible working opportunities and other lifestyle benefits.

We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for future updates regarding this topic/how the Surrey study turns out! As well as sharing such updates via our news feed, you can also follow us over on Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn.