Employees use holiday allowance for sick leave

More than a quarter (26%) of respondents used their holiday allowance rather than take time off sick, according to research by Canada Life Group Insurance.

The research, which surveyed more than 1,000 UK employees, found that 10% have felt tempted to use their holiday allowance in this way, while 64% were either not aware of this option or have not been tempted to do so.

A quarter (25%) of respondents did not take advantage of their full holiday entitlement in 2012, and 26% of those who did not said it was because they did not need to or simply preferred not to.

Less than one-fifth (18%) found their holiday plans scuppered by other employees taking time off when they wanted to, while 16% did not plan their time off and ran out of opportunities, and 14% felt they had to stay at work due to staffing issues.

The research also found:

  • 31% of employees under the age of 30 did not take up their annual holiday allowance.
  • 5% chose to take part in a holiday selling scheme.
  • 11% felt guilty about taking their annual leave or were actively discouraged from taking time off by their employer.

Paul Avis, marketing director at Canada Life Group Insurance (pictured), said: “While it is ultimately an individual’s responsibility to ensure that they make full use of their holiday entitlement, the fact that over one in ten respondents felt too guilty or were actively discouraged from taking a holiday by their organisation suggests employers need to do more to create a guilt-free atmosphere when it comes to using annual leave.

“Having a break every now and then is vital to ensure workers achieve a healthy work-life balance, and avoid burnout and stress-related illnesses.

“Employees shouldn’t feel afraid to book a holiday and using up annual leave while off sick is essentially a waste of time off that should be used to recharge your batteries.

“Workers will be healthier and ultimately more productive if they feel they can make full use of the holiday that they are legally entitled to.”