Water industry sees annual leave dip by 9% despite allowance rising

New analysis of over 3,000 companies has revealed that the water industry has seen one of the biggest dips in people taking annual leave in the last two years – despite an increased push on employee wellness. 

The annual leave report, conducted by HR systems specialist Access PeopleHR, looked at absence leave data of over 122,000 employees over the last three years.

In the water and waste management industry, the number of annual leave days taken has dropped 9% in the last two years.

This is despite the average allowance in the sector rising 18% – from 33.6 days to 39.8, including bank holidays.

This could be due to the critical nature of these services, with a spotlight on the industry amid rising energy prices potentially creating pressure for employees to remain available at all times.

Nationally, Access PeopleHR found that the average entitlement offered to staff is now 34 days a year, including bank holidays. This is up by five days annually since 2020, when it stood at 29, meaning staff get an extra working week off.

The industries with the biggest drops of people using annual leave:  

Industry Annual leave days taken (2020-2022)
Electricity, Gas, Steam And Air Conditioning Supply -11.88%
Water Supply; Sewerage, Waste Management -9.03%
Agriculture -8.00%
Transportation and storage -6.37%
Wholesale and Retail Trade -5.64%
Human Health And Social Work Activities -5.38%
Professional, Scientific And Technical Activities -5.22%
Financial and Insurance Activities -4.97%
Construction -4.17%
NGO -3.94%

Charles Butterworth, Managing Director, Access PeopleHR, commented on the research: 

“Whether it’s financial worries, busy work schedules or simply not having enough booked in your calendar to justify annual leave, there’s hundreds of complex reasons why some staff in the water industry may not be utilising all of their annual leave.

“This report into the current status of annual leave across multiple industries in the UK highlights how important it is for employers and companies to have a stringent HR system in place that makes it easy for staff to book holidays, but also simple for managers to spot those that haven’t booked enough, and encourage them to set aside dates in the calendar for time off.

“The fact that holiday entitlement has grown so much in recent years is promising, however it will become pointless if they’re seen as job perks – but people are too busy to take them. Companies need to take action to identify the reasons for the lack of holiday requests, and ensure that they implement ways of working that rectify this.”



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