UK businesses are joining the campaign for more bank holidays, saying more time off could actually increase productivity, according to a survey by Croner Consulting.
Eighty-two percent of HR professionals polled felt that standardising the number of bank holidays across the European Union would increase the performance of employees.
Britons have eight bank holidays a year, against a European average of 11. In Britain bank holidays are not a statutory entitlement meaning employers may incorporate them into an employee’s annual leave. The minimum of 20 days paid annual leave also lags behind most other European countries.
Italy tops the paid leave league with sixteen bank holidays, followed by Iceland (15) and Spain (14). Germany enjoys up to 14, and France, 11.
Peter Etherington, HR expert at Croner said that the discrepancy between the number of holidays in Britain compared to the rest of the UK could be a demotivating factor.
“Britain has a tradition of working hard, and is often reported as one of the hardest working nations in Europe. There is evidence to say that too much time at work could be contributing to occupational stress, absenteeism and lower productivity,” he added.
However, Croner is advising businesses that increasing the number of bank holidays shouldn’t be seen as a ‘quick fix’ solution to improving productivity.
Etherington said: “Productivity is a complex subject, influenced by numerous factors and there is no simple solution for getting the most out of workers. However, an extra day off here and there may improve morale and encourage employees to feel more motivated in their daily tasks.”
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