One in three (34 per cent) employers would be willing to cancel a staff member's holiday if there was too much work to be done, according to research.

A survey by Adecco also found that a similar proportion (31 per cent) of organisations would be prepared to rescind a holiday leave arrangement for purely business reasons, HR Review reports.

Despite a general consensus that it is more difficult for businesses to operate when employees are away, nearly a third (31 per cent) of firms do not have the necessary staff rostering systems in place to provide cover.

A considerable majority (90 per cent) of employers arrange for other members of the team to take on a colleague's responsibilities while they are on holiday, according to the research.

The study also found that nearly four out of ten (37 per cent) organisations adopt a 'use it or lose it' approach to annual leave, meaning unused holiday entitlement cannot be rolled over into the following year.

While some businesses appear to have a fairly strict stance on holiday provisions, 87 per cent agreed that taking some time off does make employees more efficient.

Alex Fleming, managing director of Adecco's retail division, said it was surprising to see that many employers struggle with workers taking leave but do little to address the problem.

He warned that a willingness to cancel holiday arrangements is not likely to go down well with members of the workforce.

"Employers must ensure they empower employees by clarifying their expectations, making it clear that employees should give plenty of notice for holiday requests," Mr Fleming advised.

"Good planning and forward thinking will help prevent team members having to pick up the extra workload and foster a happier workplace."

Earlier this year, Adecco offered some advice for companies struggling with high staff turnover, highlighting poor business performance, negative workplace culture and sub-standard benefits packages as factors that could increase the likelihood of people leaving.

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