Festive fears as staff must ‘save up’ time off

More than half of all employers expect staff to ‘save up’ enough annual leave to tide them over a planned closedown stretching from Christmas to New Year, according to a survey by Personnel Today’s sister publication, IRS Employment Review.

A survey that looks at the arrangements made by more than 100 employers for Christmas 2006 reveals that nearly six out of 10 (56%) will treat employee absence over the festive season as annual leave, even if the organisation suspends normal business.

But more than one in three (35%) plans to enter into the festive spirit by adding additional ‘company’ days – typically the three weekdays between Boxing Day and New Year – to holiday entitlement. The remainder reach a compromise position.

However, while some staff have no choice but to take their holidays at this time of year, the survey also shows that one in four organisations imposes a ban or restriction on leave in the run-up to Christmas and its immediate aftermath.

This is especially the case for retailers, who usually regard this as their busiest time, while emergency services, utility companies and other 24-hour operations, such as TV companies, need to keep going regardless of other people’s holidays. Among those imposing bans, Focus DIY does not permit annual leave in December, while Robert Dyas Holdings expects everyone present from 1 November to 15 January. The exception among retailers is Ann Summers, which stops all leave around Valentine’s Day.






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