The UK workforce has a holiday backlog…and workers may be planning to use up unclaimed 2020 allowances in the run-up to Christmas.

2020 has been an odd year, as the pundits never tire of telling us. One of the consequences of COVID-19 lockdowns, travel difficulties and the growth of homeworking has been that many UK workers have delayed taking leave.

Present UK law grants workers 28 days’ holiday, including Bank Holidays. Thanks to COVID-19, a large proportion of those 2020 allowances have gone unclaimed.

That’s a real headache for HR departments. Given present working conditions, the backlog might easily be sufficient to keep half the chairs in the office empty over the next couple of months. (Or, in the more up-to-date coronavirus-aware version, half the subpanels in the Zoom window.)

New legislation may soften the blow a little. Under a raft of pandemic-related legislation announced in March 2020, UK workers became entitled to carry leave over for up to two years. But old habits die hard, and it seems likely that many staff will still opt to take their holidays before the end of the year.

At LeavePlanner, it’s been our experience that a large majority of UK businesses still lack any means of tracking the cost of employee absence, making it difficult to predict the financial impact of a holiday rush over the next few months.

If your company feels underprepared for the ‘Holiday Tsunami’ of 2020, we’d like to mention that LeavePlanner’s leave management systems can help you deal with such absences… as well as providing support for workers dealing with burnout and other difficult consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For any queries, call Steve on 01252 636 070 or email