Smart Group - Electric Xmas
Emirates Old Trafford
The Meetings Show

Warning on pending annual leave crisis due to Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has seen 46% of full-time employees cancelling an average of seven days of annual leave, new research shows, highlighting an incoming annual leave crisis for employers.

The survey of 2002 full-time UK workers, carried out by, also found that 36% of employees haven’t heard anything from their employers regarding what will happen to their annual leave entitlement in 2020, while 17% have been advised they need to use their entitlement up before the end of the year and 3% have been told they can’t take any at all.

This is despite government guidance released in late March saying that workers will be able to carry over an increased amount of their annual leave into the next two years, increased from 1.6 weeks to 4 weeks.

The lack of communication from employers explaining the changed rules on carrying forward is leading to a massive influx of holidays being taken later in the year, leaving workforces around the country short-handed.

Gary Bury, the CEO of Timetastic, said: “The sheer number of days of annual leave being cancelled around the UK is potentially only the start of the trouble for employers. If employees decide to take them all later in the year, there could be a real productivity crisis in autumn or winter.

“The onus is on employers to fully explain the new rules for annual leave carry-over, as set out by the government, to employees. That information might help them to decide to save some holidays for a larger trip next year, ‘flattening the curve’ of cancelled annual leave being rebooked and ensuring productivity stays high throughout the rest of 2020.”

Worldwide travel bans and stay-at-home orders have created an annual leave pandemic within the coronavirus pandemic – with millions of employees in the UK alone cancelling their booked holiday days. However, viral pandemics aren’t the only things that can stop employees from taking their holidays.

The same survey by Timetastic found that 60% of employees didn’t take all of their annual leave in 2019. Of those who left days untaken, 9% felt they couldn’t book more because their role is too essential, 5% said their employer made it difficult for them, and 5% said their workplace culture dissuaded them.