Leave entitlement rises – but we’re not using it

The financial and insurance sector has seen one of the biggest dips in people taking time off in the past two years – despite an increased push on employee wellness.

New analysis of over 3,000 companies has revealed that the number of annual leave days has dropped by 5 per cent in the last two years. This is despite the average allowance in the sector rising by 8 per cent – from 30.5 to 33.2 days, including bank holidays. 

The financial sector is radically transforming, and the labour shortages and recruitment challenges have been regularly reported on. As digital transformation in banking and insurance changes the nature of the job for many, a smaller talent pool can be having a domino effect on annual leave uptake. 

Worst ‘offenders’ were those in the Electricity, Gas, Steam And Air Conditioning Supply sector, who fell short by 11.5 per cent, followed by water supply, sewerage, waste management and agriculture.

Nationally, the firm behind the analysis, Access PeopleHR, found that the average entitlement offered to staff is now 34 days a year, including bank holidays. This is up by five days annually since 2020, when it stood at 29, meaning staff get an extra working week off. The findings were the result of them looking at absence leave data of more than 122,000 employees over the last three years. 

“Whether it’s financial worries, busy work schedules or simply not having enough booked in your calendar to justify annual leave, there’s hundreds of complex reasons why some staff in the financial sector may not be utilising all of their annual leave,” said MD Charles Butterworth.

“This report highlights how important it is for employers and companies to have a stringent HR system in place that makes it easy for staff to book holidays, but also simple for managers to spot those that haven’t booked enough, and encourage them to set aside dates in the calendar for time off. 

“The fact that holiday entitlement has grown so much in recent years is promising, however it will become pointless if they’re seen as job perks – but people are too busy to take them. Companies need to take action to identify the reasons for the lack of holiday requests, and ensure that they implement ways of working that rectify this.”

Readers can find the full annual leave report, here