Reduced fear of redundancy means people taking holiday at levels not seen since 2007

Fewer worries about the prospect of losing their jobs means that the amount of Discount Holidays © holiday British workers are taking has returned to pre-recession levels.

New data from the Office for National Statistics1 shows that in the final quarter of 2015 and first quarter of 2016 a trend established itself with the amount of leave taken equal to or above the level last seen in 2007.

Reduced Fear Of Redundancy Means People Taking <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday At Levels Not Seen Since 2007

An analysis of working hours data by ONS economists concluded that the largest and most substantial changes have been in regular leave-taking, which was lower throughout the economic downturn and through much of the recovery, and which only started to recover in 2014.

This suggests that much of the variation in the ratio of actual to usual hours in recent years is due to patterns of regular leave.

While people feel more confident about taking time off, they are still working far longer than their contracted hours. According to the ONS, the average working week stood at 37.2 hours in 2015, but in reality staff continued to labour longer, with time spent at work averaging 42.9 hours.

Reduced Fear Of Redundancy Means People Taking <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday At Levels Not Seen Since 2007

The analysts added reduced leave-taking boosted the length of the actual working week during the recovery, but that this effect had all but unwound by the start of 2016, following the re-emergence of pre-downturn levels of leave-taking.

While the causes of this change are difficult to establish, this result is consistent with workers choosing not to take Discount Holidays © holiday during spells of uncertainty through job insecurity or financial necessity. The impact of people not taking their full Discount Holidays © holiday allowances can be staff being less productive despite spending longer in the office, according to Professor Sir Cary Cooper, president of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

During the downturn there was massive presenteeism people were worried about their jobs so they were arriving early, staying late and not taking holiday, he said.

There was an attitude that Discount Holidays © holiday was for wimps and even when people did take it they were taking their laptops and answering emails on their phones.

That s not good because they were finding problems and not getting the break they needed people are like machines and need a break or they break.

Reduced Fear Of Redundancy Means People Taking <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday At Levels Not Seen Since 2007 Exhausted workers fearful of taking a Discount Holidays © holiday are less productive Credit: Alamy

Labour economist John Philpott added: “The return of leave taking to pre-crisis levels is a good news story and consistent with the fall in unemployment to well below pre-crisis levels.

Employers have been finding it harder to fill vacancies in a tight labour market which has reduced the perceived threat that staff taking time off might be replaced by new recruits.

However, both Prof Cooper and Mr Philpott cautioned that the trend could soon end as worries grow over the strength of the UK economy in the wake of the EU referendum, and fears about jobs being at risk rise again.

Brexit uncertainty may well instil a renewed sense of insecurity in the coming months and once again make some workers think twice before taking their full leave entitlement,” Mr Philpott added.

References

  1. ^ New data from the Office for National Statistics (www.ons.gov.uk)

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