Just over half of UK staff who are not self-employed work during their holidays, with nearly one in five making a regular habit of it, a study has found.
A survey among 2,009 adults undertaken by YouGov on behalf of workplace information and services provider Croner also revealed that young people aged 18 to 24 were more likely to always work during their vacation (14%) than workers in the 55+ age group (3%).
East Midlanders were likewise the least likely to take a proper break (14%) compared with only 2% of employees in the North West of England and 3% in Wales.
Croner’s senior employment consultant Amy Paxton said: “The whole point of holidays is that workers are entitled to a period of rest and relaxation. If they do not have this time, it could cause or exacerbate stress issues. Work-related stress is now recognised as a very serious occupational health issue.”
Failure to manage the risks involved could be very costly for employers in terms of high levels of absenteeism, increased staff turnover, recruitment fees and low staff morale and productivity, she added.
“The practice of working through periods of annual leave should be discouraged. If an employee is suggesting that they are working during their holidays because they feel they have no alternative, then an employer should consider what support can be given to reduce workload or address any staffing issues,” Paxton said.
In addition, the organisation should review its stress management policy if such a situation occurs because working through annual leave periods could signal that work-related stress is not being managed properly, which amounts to a “failure of the employer’s duty of care to their employees”, she warned.