Half of firms let employees carry over some unused holiday

Many people assume that if they don’t use their holiday entitlement, they will lose it. But many employers are more generous about letting staff carry over unused leave, according to research.

Almost half (49%) the 161 UK employers surveyed by Personnel Today sister publication IRS Employment Review allow their staff to carry over unused holiday.

Although this ranges from two to 10 days, the largest group (32%) permit employees to carry forward up to five days. This compares with just under one-third of employers (32%) who said that unused leave is simply “lost”.

Fewer than one in 10 employers (8%) would permit staff to carry over leave only if the employee had been unable to take it because of operational requirements or similar exceptional circumstances.

Mark Crail, IRS Employment Review managing editor, 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.

“An increasing number of people are rethinking their working life, particularly when their personal circumstances change. 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,” he added.

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