Almost 40% of Brits can request leave on the day of their holiday, new research from SD Worx, European HR and People solutions provider has found.
SD Worx surveyed 16,000 businesses in sixteen countries in Europe, including the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Belgium to fully understand both employer and employee attitudes towards requesting leave last minute.
Aided by digital systems that allow eight in ten employees (79%) across Europe to request and have their leave approved quickly online, the findings paint a positive picture for employees looking to benefit from maximum work flexibility and improved work-life balance.
Wanted: Better work-life balance
The research points towards a much more flexible attitude among both employees and employers when it comes to balance personal and professional lives. With over three quarters (78%) of European employees putting leave and flexible working on a similar priority level as salary, the benefits and value of flexibility is something businesses cannot ignore.
The survey findings highlight that:
- More than half of European employees (55%) can request their leave a week or less in advance;
- One in ten employees can request leave one to two weeks in advance;
- One in three must submit their leave request two weeks to one month in advance.
However, when it comes to requesting time of at the last minute, Brits almost top the chart with 4 out of 10 (38%) saying their employers allow them to request time off on the day of departure. However, the Danes take the crown with over half (54%) saying no lengthy notice needs to be given.
Unlimited leave days: The jury is still out with employees
Despite demand for flexible leave, ‘unlimited leave days’ offered by some companies aren’t universally coveted, with less than half of European employees (48%) showing an interest in it, and 12% stating they are not interested at all. Employees in Croatia, Poland and Spain are most likely to want unlimited leave (66%, 60%, 56% respectively), followed by the UK (51%), Denmark (49%) and Sweden (46%).
Similarly, the research indicates that where implemented, unlimited leave policies have relatively low impact on the amount of holiday taken:
- Just under a quarter of employees (23%) state that they would take a lot more leave days than they do normally;
- 38% of employees would only take a little more leave;
- One in three employees (34%) would take the same number of leave days;
- And 7% would take even less leave.
This goes some way to explaining why employers themselves are not necessarily opposed to the idea of unlimited leave days. 37% of employers are broadly neutral and an equal number of employers are positive, although a quarter (27%) think it is a bad idea.
Rachel Clough, UK Country Lead at SD Worx said, “Time off is critical for employee well-being and allows staff to recharge their batteries and avoid burnout, which is vital for productivity and can lead to better business performance.
“For some time now, flexibility has been at the top of the business agenda for both employers and employees. Staff now place flexibility far above other benefits – often including pay packages.
“Businesses who fail to recognise the importance of this run the risk of high turnover and will eventually lose top talent and we are seeing more and more employers pivoting to offer these benefits to help attract and retain staff.”