This week will see unplanned staff leave spike

Employees take more than twice as much unplanned leave in winter compared to summer, with this peaking in the second week of December.

This is according to e-days, a provider of global absence management solutions. During the week starting 10th December last year, employees took 2 per cent of unplanned leave with sickness rate peaking at 2.26 per cent on the 12th December.

The company has attributed this to Christmas party fall-outs and Christmas shopping.

What has been coined “Dire December” is backed up by NHS employee sickness absence figures which showed that December 2018 saw the absence rate peak to 4.41 per cent.

Research also showed 84 per cent of planned leave is taken in a year, leaving 16 per cent of annual leave entitlement being discarded.

Steve Arnold, founder & CEO of e-days, said:

The fact that companies are facing double the strain on their workforce during winter months is a big challenge for businesses to manage, and December is clearly a climax for these challenges, with factors like office parties, last minute shopping and winter bugs creating a perfect storm of absence. Understanding and planning for these trends will enable companies to be more proactive around these times of the year and help fix some of the pressures these winter woes create.

Encouraging staff to take the remainder of planned leave towards the end of the year is a simple remedy, but most organisations aren’t even aware that staff aren’t taking holiday to maintain work-life balance.

This was put together by data from 1,000 surveyed organisations.