Take it or leave it

Online since 1.03.2017 • Filed under Human Resources • From Issue 5 - March 2017 - August 2017 page(s) 40
Take it or leave it

Employers should be encouraging staff to take their leave and not making it difficult for them or, worse, forcing them to work through their holidays.

Many companies have a ‘use it or lose it’ leave policy and I am often surprised that people are prepared to forfeit leave that they have earned. People seem to think that we need to work longer hours and take fewer days off in these difficult financial times.

In South Africa, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act provides for annual leave on completion of a year of continuous service with an employer. A worker is entitled to 21 consecutive days of paid annual leave so, for most of us, 15 paid work days off.

In Europe, many countries offer more than this, and many jobs in the US offer no paid vacation time. Some companies – especially where creativity is of the essence – are now offering unlimited paid leave. However, initial findings show that people are taking less leave as it doesn’t feel endorsed, or for fear that they may look bad or lazy.

In a study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), it was found that employees who take most or all their leave each year perform better, are more productive, and more satisfied with their jobs than those who do not. 58% of the HR professionals questioned in this survey said that employees who take all or most of their leave are likely to take fewer sick days.

The effects of working long hours without breaks or being ‘married to your job’ are immense. An unhealthy work-life balance can cause strain on your personal relationships and your health. People often overlook the danger of fatigue; job-related accidents and car accidents can be the result of fatigue.

While you may think you’re productive by not taking a break, it’s proven that productivity decreases in this situation. We have a finite pool of cognitive resources that, when drained, reduce productivity. And then we see performance decline.

Taking a break gives employees the opportunity to reenergise body and mind and return to work with renewed vigour. After a good break, employees generally approach tasks with a fresh mindset and better efficiency.

Issue 5 - March 2017 - August 2017

Issue 5 - March 2017 - August 2017

This article was featured on page 40 of SABI Magazine Issue 5 - March 2017 - August 2017 .

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