Why wouldn't you want a holiday?

Employers can come up against a number of concerns regarding employees, but it is unlikely that dealing with employees who do not take annual leave is near the top of the list to list. However, not stepping in when an employee decides not to take their holiday can be problematic.


According to the Working Time Directive, employees are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks (28 days full time equivalent) to ensure that people have the opportunity for sufficient rest and their wellbeing is protected. It is not uncommon though for employees to neglect to take their annual leave, despite a Company policy that advises it will be lost and no payment made in lieu.


The main reasons given by employees for avoiding taking annual leave include the fear of missing targets, subsequent loss of bonuses, time restraints and deadlines. Employers have a responsibility to protect their employees. However unless employers can guarantee that there will be no affect on bonuses or detriment caused by missing targets, then both parties are left in a predicament.




  • When employees are reluctant to take holiday, encourage shorter periods leave rather than a week or two
  • If an employee is involve in a project or has particular targets to meet, consider allowing them to carry over some of their holiday if you are nearing the end of the holiday year. In this instance you can specify when they must then take this leave by for example the first three months
  • Encourage planning in advance to prevent leave being saved up or clashes in busy periods such as school holidays or around public holidays
  • Have a contract clause stipulating when holiday can be taken and that the employer can instruct employees to use their leave