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What happens to unused leave now that Dutch employees cancel vacations due to Covid-19?

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COVID 19 Coronavirus

May 29, 2020

AMSTELVEEN, 29 May 2020 — Nearly half of Dutch companies are unsure how to deal with their holiday policy during the current corona crisis, according to research by Willis Towers Watson, a global consultancy.

In a survey of Dutch companies about COVID-19, one fifth (20%) said that they had changed their policy towards unused annual holiday as a result of COVID-19. Two in five (39%) are considering changing this policy.

Asked what their policy is, 39% said they will allow leave carry forward into the next year, 18% say that any unused leave is lost, 1% will repurchase unused leave. However, almost half (42%) do not know what to do about the problem.

Many people consider it a shame to take vacation days during the crisis because they cannot travel abroad. As a result, too many people are sitting on a growing amount of holiday, which will create additional problems for employers as we head into the fall where we hope to see businesses in recovery and rebound..

Since taking time off brings significant health and wellbeing benefits, even without traveling abroad, people need to take time away from work regularly to recharge the body and mind.

Angel Hoover, Head of Benelux, Willis Towers Watson:

“This is a growing problem for Dutch businesses, and many are unsure what to do. The risk is that everyone wants to take time off when the crisis has passed, and when staff are needed most. Companies must work with their employees to find the best way to deal with unused leave. The solution will vary from company to company. The importance of regular holidays should not be forgotten, both for staff and for companies.”

“People must be able to take their leave without this having an unduly negative impact on their employer. One option could be to encourage people to take long weekends with a day or two off, and more often than usual. But the most important is that companies are encouraging their employees to take holiday time as usual in the summer to recharge for what will optimistically be a busy fall season.”

“Finding a balance between protecting health and wellbeing on the one hand and business continuity on the other is ultimately a matter of an adult conversation between a company and its employees.”

About the survey

Willis Towers Watson surveyed a diverse range of employers across Europe for its 2020 COVID-19 Pulse Survey, which was conducted during April 2020. The 109 Dutch respondents employ about two million employees globally.

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