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Annie Hayes

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Holiday hangover accepted

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Bosses are more generous about letting staff carry over unused leave into the next holiday period then is commonly thought.

Research conducted by analysts IRS Employment Review found that almost half or 49% of the sample allowed staff to carry over unused holiday. Five days is the allowance adopted by most organisations although the researchers reveal the scale varies between one to 10 days holiday.

This compares with just under one-third of employers (32%) who said that unused leave is simply “lost”.

Other key points include:

* The most common arrangement for calculating holiday pay is to link it to basic salary, usually allowing one day’s holiday to be paid at 1/260th of basic annual salary. Some organisations, however, take enhanced shift rates into account and base holiday pay on average pay over a given period.

* There is no clear trend in arrangements to compensate those who work on bank and public holidays, although the most common broad approaches are to offer time off in lieu – usually at a flat rate of one day’s leave per day worked – or to offer time off in lieu plus an enhanced daily pay rate.

* Just over half (52%) of the survey’s respondents allow employees to take sabbaticals or extended leave in certain circumstances.

* The great majority of employers who offer sabbaticals do not pay their staff while they are away, while only one in 10 (13%) do. Fewer than one in 10 employers offer a combination of paid and unpaid leave for a sabbatical.

IRS managing editor, Mark Crail said:

“Employees have no statutory right to carry forward annual leave from one holiday year to the next; nor do they have a statutory right to be paid for leave not taken unless they are leaving the organisation. So our findings suggest that good practice is running ahead of the law on this issue.”

Crail added that as work/life balance issues catapult to the forefront of workers wish lists, employers increasingly look to adopt flexible practices:

“Sabbaticals are often a good option. They allow staff time away from work without losing their job, and the employer does not lose a valued member of staff. It could mean that even more employers will look at sabbaticals as a cost-effective retention tool in the future.”

The survey is based on responses from 161 organisations that between them employ 167,514 people.

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Annie Hayes

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