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Extended holidays, soaring sickness and staff shortages – the perfect Autumn storm

Matt Jenkins - Edays
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Data*has shed light on the perfect September storm with the UK workforce having half of its annual holiday allowance left to take with only a quarter of the year remaining.

Despite the end of the British summer holiday period, the average UK employee still has 17 days of leave to book this year. The national average entitlement for the UK workforce is 33 days in 2021, factoring in the 50% increase in holiday rollover allowed from 2020. In light of this, the UK employee is still capitalising on their 2020 holiday rollover with a 53% increase in week-long holiday bookings on pre-pandemic rates. 

With recent changes to the UK’s travel list, access to the US restored, and the relaxing of PCR testing and quarantine rules, findings show that half term bookings have increased by 200%. Organisations are therefore likely to see a sudden increase in holiday bookings, causing strained absence levels as employees try to cram in the rest of their holidays.

“As businesses fight staff shortages and employees face a winter burnout, employers will need to have a much better understanding of their absence rates in order to effectively manage the resource constraints amplified by the extended booking period for summer holiday into September,” warns Matt Jenkins, CEO of Edays. “Our absence management technology enables businesses to access real-time insights, alerting HR leaders of absence trends before they develop into business-wide crises.”

Burnout or Bust

This problem is evident as we approach Logistics and Delivery’s busiest season. Data has revealed that the industry’s workforce has 35% less leave to take throughout the year than the national average, fuelling the likelihood of mass employee burnout. This follows the news that the industry has seen sickness rates 139% higher than average in the last month in the midst of its resourcing and supplies crisis, only exacerbating the fears of a Christmas staffing shortfall.

With only an average of 22 days to take each year, this industry still tracks with the national planned absence trend having taken only 50% of this reduced allowance. 

The Logistics and Delivery industry also tops the list of those hit hardest by the staffing shortfall with a reported 100,000+ vacancies for HGV drivers, with resources stretched thin. Therefore, employees and industry leaders are left to choose between burnout or bust as the increased workload will not likely allow for much time to take planned leave. 

Jenkins added: “With so much holiday left to take and the ONS announcing that vacancies are at a record high, one of the greatest challenges in the lead up to Christmas will be for business leaders to strike a healthy balance between encouraging employees to take some all important recovery time without exacerbating the nationwide resourcing crisis. We’re seeing extended holiday booking into September in the midst of resourcing problems – and this is only further compounded by the holiday backlog. The solution is to use insight-led technology to remove the strain of absence management and accurately forecast for 2022 to avoid facing the same challenges next year.”

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