More than a quarter of UK workers have cancelled annual leave in 2020, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a specialist consultancy has said.
A report by global HR software and employment law advice service BrightHR suggests that 28% of UK workers have cancelled holiday in 2020 – a fact which employers should find “troubling”.
As the global pandemic continues to play a significant role in the way people live their lives – and as uncertainty of holidays overseas persists – large numbers of employees will have accrued weeks of annual leave.
The report, which uses data from over 300,000 BrightHR users, also found that the two highest months for cancelled leave were while the UK was in full lockdown. April had the highest number of leave cancellations, with 31,762 users withdrawing holiday requests. It was followed by May, which saw 25,083 users cancel their annual leave.
Alan Price, CEO at BrightHR, said that trend should be “troubling” for employers as if employees decide to not to take any leave or take the majority of their leave in the final quarter of the year, there could be a “real productivity crisis” in autumn or winter.
28% of UK workers have cancelled holiday in 2020Source: BrightHR
Price said: “While your employees’ holiday plans might be on hold, it’s still important for them to take time away from work. Annual leave gives your people downtime to refresh and recover, so you should encourage employees to take time out from work.
“The onus is on employers to fully explain their annual leave process to staff, as well as the updated rules around annual leave carry-over, as set out by the government earlier this year. That information might help them to spread leave throughout this year and next, therefore ‘flattening the curve’ of cancelled annual leave being rebooked and ensuring productivity stays high for the remainder of 2020.”