Annual leave in agriculture has fallen by eight per cent in the past two years

Farm workers are taking less time off

Farm workers are taking less time off

The agriculture industry has seen one of the biggest drops in people taking annual leave in the last two years, despite an increased push on employee wellness.

A new annual leave report by Access PeopleHR, which surveyed over 3,000 companies, looked at absence leave data of over 122,000 employees over the last three years.

It found that in the agriculture industry, the number of annual leave days taken has dropped eight per cent in the last two years. This is despite the average allowance in the sector rising by 12.7 per cent - from 30.5 days to 34.4, including bank holidays.

British farming has seen a string of challenges following rising costs, labour shortages and uncertainty in the market, with the NFU urging the government this year to support British food producers. The pressure on the industry could be leading fewer people in the agricultural sector to take annual leave, Access PeopleHR suggested.

Nationally, Access PeopleHR found that the average entitlement offered to staff is now 34 days a year, including bank holidays. This is up by five days annually since 2020, when it stood at 29, meaning staff get an extra working week off.

Charles Butterworth, managing director at Access PeopleHR, said: “Whether it’s financial worries, busy work schedules or simply not having enough booked in your calendar to justify annual leave, there’s hundreds of complex reasons why some staff in the agriculture sector may not be utilising all of their annual leave.

“This report into the current status of annual leave across multiple industries in the UK highlights how important it is for employers and companies to have a stringent HR system in place that makes it easy for staff to book holidays, but also simple for managers to spot those that haven’t booked enough, and encourage them to set aside dates in the calendar for time off.

“The fact that holiday entitlement has grown so much in recent years is promising, however it will become pointless if they’re seen as job perks - but people are too busy to take them. Companies need to take action to identify the reasons for the lack of holiday requests, and ensure that they implement ways of working that rectify this.”

The full report is available here.