Hospitality staff ‘taking just half annual holiday allowance’

The nation’s hospitality workers take the least amount of their holiday entitlement compared to other professions, according to research. A study of 7,000 employees found restaurant, bar and pub staff are allowed to take up to 30 days a year – but take an average of just 16.

And those working in quick food service venues can book off 31, but only take 25. In contrast, workers in the healthcare and medical sector typically book three days more than their 38.5-day allowance a year.

Experts analysing the data found those working in call centres also take very little holiday – just 19.5 days out of their 32-day allowance. But at the other end of the scale, professional services employees – such as lawyers, accountants, or consultants – take their exact entitlement.



People in the East Midlands take the most of their annual leave allowance – while Londoners take the least

Across all industries, the average person gets a leave allowance of 32 days (31.8), but only takes 27 (26.6) – leaving a full working week (5.2 days) of time off unused each year. The findings were published by online staff management company RotaCloud, which has created a tool allowing workers within different sectors to compare their holiday entitlement.

Pam Hinds, head of HR at RotaCloud, said: “Employees should always take their holidays – but as our annual leave tool has shown, many don’t. Those working in hospitality, in particular, have had to work exceptionally hard to meet the requirements of the public over the last few years – usually doing long, antisocial hours, and covering days when many other people are enjoying time off.

“While we have medical professionals who, according to our data, sometimes use more than their entitlement, and rightly so – no doubt to have rest days in order to cope with their incredibly stressful and demanding jobs.”

The data found 69 per cent of workers didn’t take all of their annual leave last year, with some opting to lose out on days altogether.

But a separate study of 2,000 workers, also commissioned by RotaCloud, found 43 per cent are allowed to roll over any unused holiday allowance into the following year. One in five cited having too much work to do as the main reason why they don’t take all their entitlement.

And one in six don’t trust there won’t be new Covid restrictions, so still don’t want to take the risk to travel. Having no-one to hand work over to, and feeling the hassle of coming back to a mountain of work, prevent 16 per cent from using their allowance.

And other top reasons include holidays being too expensive, finding it hard to co-ordinate breaks with a partner, and not wanting to leave colleagues in the lurch.



Hospitality staff 'taking just half annual holiday allowance'
One in five feel they have too much work to do – and no-one to hand it over to

Sadly, more than one in ten claim it is pointless taking holiday, as they’d only work the whole time anyway. However, of those who don’t always have annual leave leftover, 38 per cent have been known to take MORE time off than normally allocated.

On these occasions, wanting to go away (39 per cent), unforeseen illness (38 per cent), and having to look after the children (34 per cent) were the main reasons. But a third of those booking extra days have done so to look after their own mental health, while 31 per cent have needed to go to the doctor.

Across all respondents, polled via OnePoll, six in ten believe they will burn out if they don’t take all of the annual leave allocated to them. Pam Hinds added: “Fifty-eight per cent of people think the amount of holiday days on offer is one of the most, or the sole most, important factor when deciding to take a job — yet we’re still not taking all of the annual leave we’re entitled to.

“Not only are you owed it by your employer, but taking regular breaks from work is vital, for both your physical and mental health — so it’s really important to take your entire annual leave entitlement, no matter how busy it is at work.

“As employers, we should be encouraging annual leave use to its fullest, and actively ensuring that people feel able to, and comfortable, taking time off.

“Hopefully our annual leave tool helps to highlight that we could all do with a bit more of a break.”

HOW MUCH HOLIDAY ENTITLEMENT DIFFERENT SECTORS ARE ENTITLED TO, AND HOW MUCH THEY ACTUALLY USE:

  • Healthcare/medical/hospital – 35.0 days allowance, 38.5 days used
  • Professional services – 32.5 days allowance, 32.7 days used
  • Optical – 32.9 days allowance, 31.8 days used
  • Retail (online/ecommerce) – 33.2 days allowance, 31.4 days used
  • Veterinary and animal care – 30.7 days allowance, 30.2 days used
  • Volunteer/charities – 36.1 days allowance, 29.7 days used
  • Entertainment – 35.6 days allowance, 28.7 days used
  • Dental practice – 30.5 days allowance, 28.6 days used
  • Software/technology – 33.6 days allowance, 28.2 days used
  • Transportation – 33.1 days allowance, 28.0 days used
  • Retail (store) – 31.3 days allowance, 26.6 days used
  • Care home/residential care – 30.6 days allowance, 26.0 days used
  • Quick food service – 31.3 days allowance, 25.3 days used
  • IT – 32.8 days allowance, 25.2 days used
  • Other hospitality – 30.8 days allowance, 24.6 days used
  • Catering/events – 31.3 days allowance, 23.6 days used
  • Leisure/recreation – 30.6 days allowance, 22.9 days used
  • Hotel/resorts – 29.5 days allowance, 21.9 days used
  • Call centre – 32.0 days allowance, 19.5 days used
  • Restaurant/bar/club/pub – 29.8 days allowance, 16.4 days used