Over one in five workers did not take any annual leave in 2021

By MSS Apr 08, 2022


  • 'Over one in five workers did not take any annual leave in 2021’ according to a ‘Personal and Work-Life Balance Survey’ taken by the CSO in Quarter three of 2021.
  • 'The most common barrier to employees taking paid leave was being short-staffed.' 
  • ‘More than one in eight (13%) said that taking unpaid leave was harmful to their career.’
  • ‘Part-time workers in firms with 100 or more people were twice as likely to encounter barriers to taking unpaid leave - four in ten (40%), compared to just one in five (22%) of their full-time equivalents.’

Whilst it is possible that COVID played a part in the backlog of annual leave for many employees in recent years, it still remains the case that the onus to ensure that employees take their annual leave is still placed squarely on employers.

Employers should regularly monitor the annual leave of their employees and take steps to remind them of the need for them to take time off, their entitlements and of the leave year dates within which they must take them.  

If the end of the leave year is nearing and employees still have not taken or booked their leave, employers may have to nominate when holidays must be taken. However, in such circumstances, employers must ensure to give at least one months’ notice.

Employers are required to take into account the employee’s need for rest and recreation, or to reconcile family responsibilities when it comes to annual leave.

Carryover of annual leave into the following leave year is allowable if it has been agreed between the employer and employee. In any event, the legislation requires that where such a carryover is permitted, the leave must be taken within six months of the end of the leave year.

Employers should remember that the legal annual leave year is from the 1st April until 31st of March, meaning that if there are any claims against an employer in relation to annual leave, decisions will be based on the legal leave year. This does not prevent an employer using another period but this should be contained in the employees terms and conditions, but will not take precedence over the statutory leave year.

In the case of part-time workers, employers must remember that their obligations to facilitate annual leave applies equally to part-time workers, as to full-time. Also, payment in lieu of annual leave entitlements is never an option unless a person is leaving the employment.

Failure to ensure employees receive their annual leave entitlements expose employers to financial penalties under the Organisation of Working Time Act.

For guidance and advice on managing all leave entitlements, please contact us today (01) 8870690 / info@mssirl.ie

Management Support Services (Ireland) Limited, The Courtyard, Hill Street, Dublin 1