Acas urges workers in Britain to speak to their bosses about taking holiday


New research by Acas has found that around 4 in 10 British employees (39%) have taken less paid time off work during the pandemic compared to before it started.


Acas commissioned YouGov to ask British employees about how much annual leave or paid time off they had taken since the start of the pandemic when compared to previous years.

The poll also found that the results varied depending on the size of the organisation:

  • 44% of employees at small to medium sized businesses (249 employees or less) were less likely to have taken paid time off.

  • 35% of employees in large businesses (250 or more employees) were less likely to have taken paid time off.

Acas advice is that it is important for people to take time off to get rest, to keep both physically and mentally healthy and to use their holiday entitlement within their current leave year where they can.


Susan Clews, Acas Chief Executive, said: “Our poll findings are unsurprising as many workers may have taken advantage of a new law introduced last year, which allows them to carry over most of their paid time off into this year.


“Whilst the easing of pandemic restrictions is good news for many businesses, many staff will be keen to use up the leave they have saved up to take advantage of the summer season.


“Acas advice is for employees to agree any holiday plans with their managers and keep them

updated on any new COVID developments that could impact work such as travel quarantine or being asked to self-isolate.”


Acas has advice for employers and employees on taking leave, what the rules are and what has changed as well as information on what to do if you need to self-isolate when returning from abroad.


In 2020, the Government introduced a law allowing employees and workers to carry over up to 4 weeks' statutory paid holiday into their next 2 holiday leave years. This law applies for any holiday that staff do not take due to COVID-19.


Acas advice on taking paid time off includes:

  • Workers should try and make requests for paid holiday throughout their holiday year.

  • If holiday plans suddenly change due to COVID-19 then employees should get in touch with their boss to agree alternative options for time off.

  • Get any time off requests in as soon as possible as employers need to plan staff cover for their businesses and are unlikely to agree to staff all taking holiday at the same time.

Acas July 2021

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