As employees return to work, UK businesses are likely to face a backlog of annual leave requests that could cost many thousands of pounds and put further strain on businesses, says Coworking Specialists Instant Offices who have calculated how much it would cost for companies of different sizes to pay staff for a minimum of two weeks of annual leave after lockdown.

Heading into the second half of 2020, the risk of ‘too many’ employees requesting annual leave at the same time will pose a significant challenge for most businesses. For a small company, paying out 10 employees for only half of their annual leave days could set the business back more than £10,000, while an SME of 250 employees faces up to £255,500 in costs.

Lucinda Pullinger, Global Head of HR at The Instant Group, says “In addition to the financial challenges, there is a huge wellbeing element here too. The need for a break from work has never been higher. The pressures of Covid-19 on some people are extreme, and protecting mental health is key right now. Taking a break, even if that break is at home under lockdown, is still beneficial, and employers should encourage employees to take their holiday to protect their wellbeing, not just for financial reasons.”

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