Firms generous when it comes to 'use it or lose it' holidays

2005

Almost half of employers in Britian let workers carry over unused holidays, research has suggested.

A study by IRS Employment Review has found 49 per cent of firms let workers hold on to unused leave, ranging from two to 10 days, with 32 per cent allowing up to five days.

Just under a third of the 161 firms polled said they had a “use it or lose it” policy.

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

Just over half allowed employees to take sabbaticals or extended leave in certain circumstances, but the great majority did not pay staff while they were away.

IRS Employment Review 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.

"our findings suggest that good practice is running ahead of the law on this issue," he added.

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