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Take a hike! Businesses benefit from employee holiday taking

With local employees hoarding some 129 million days of annual leave, SMBs are being urged to address challenges posed by stockpiled leave or lose out on the benefits holiday taking has on businesses.

Figures from Roy Morgan research show one in four full-time employees have accrued over 25 days of annual leave, with many not taking this time off due to economic and job security concerns, as well as fear about an increased workload when returning to the office after a holiday.

According to Tourism Australia, business owners need to counter these employee fears as holidays build morale and motivation in the workplace, which directly contributes to the success of a business.

As part of its No Leave, No Life program, Tourism Australia is helping employers and employees understand the effects of stockpiling annual leave. Managing director Andrew McEvoy said employers need to do more to enhance employee engagement, productivity, and overall financial performance by following a plan to reduce annual leave liability.

“The good news is that there are easy-to-implement methods employers can use to encourage a leave taking culture, with clear benefits to be gained such as reduction of leave liability on the balance sheet, plus the other benefits that flow from building and engaging with a productive employee community,” McEvoy said.

Tourism Australia’s No Leave No Life website features an Employer Resources and Tools page with a series of modules and practical case studies to help employers undertake a successful annual leave program.  Key areas include:

  • Identifying challenges facing management such as pressure to meet targets, lack of reporting, competing priorities, etc;
  • Recognising the barriers to leave taking and prioritising leave taking policy in the workplace;
  • Integrating leave planning into current processes to ensure adequate coverage;
  • Engaging employees – CEO, management and HR commitment is critical to success;
  • How to set objectives and review regularly;
  • Considerations to keep in mind when encouraging leave – compromise with employees on leave taking within the context of your plan to ensure acceptable outcomes for employees and management;
  • Developing a holiday planning checklist to help staff better manage their departure from and return to work;
  • Points to help managers look at how to measure the success of their annual leave policy.