So, here’s the scenario…

The end of the holiday calendar year is creeping closer and closer. Your staff are becoming aware that they have unused holiday. And, like every other year – what happens next?

There’s a mad rush! Everyone is taking off their holiday at once.

And what are you left with? An empty office!

Why does this happen?

Well, every member of staff will have a holiday entitlement for the year. The UK minimum is 28 days, including bank holidays, for full-time employees.

Often staff members will take a week’s holiday and a few days off here and there. This consequently leaves a remainder of their holiday unused.

“Several of our e-days clients highlighted holiday burn as an issue within their own company!”

As with many companies, yours may limit or not allow holiday carryover into the next year.

Thus, employees have holiday entitlement left over, which needs to be used by the end of the holiday year. In many companies, this will be November and December.

Typically, employees will leave it as long as possible – then within the last month, they will ‘holiday burn’ – all at the same time!

The result: you are short-staffed.

So, in essence, holiday burn is where employees with unused holiday will be put in a position where they have to use it by a certain date – and unfortunately for you, their employer, that is often at the end of the holiday calendar year!

So, what can I do about it?

By now, you may or may not have identified this as an issue within your company. If you have, I’m sure you’ll be wondering what you can do to combat it!

1) Encourage employees to take holidays earlier in the year

This may sound like stating the obvious, but quite often employees are not reminded that they have holiday they need to take until very late in the year.

Monitor how much holiday they’ve got remaining. From this, take action! It could be something as simple as an e-mail stating:

“You have 11 days annual leave left before the year end. Book holiday now via this link…”

You’ve made your employees aware of their remaining holiday. You’ve planted the seed that they could take some time off now if they wanted to. That may be all the encouragement they need!

And what’s it taken you… A few minutes to check their remaining entitlement and drop them an e-mail. That’s got to be worthwhile, surely?

2) Different holiday years for different employees

Why not give different holiday calendar years to different employees throughout the company?

Holiday burn would then be affecting different employees at different times. The impact on your company is likely to therefore be significantly reduced.

This is a more solid and long-term solution… And in fact a solution which is a little closer to home for us!

e-days will be incorporating this idea into its already feature-rich system.

It currently has in development a system whereby holiday calendar years can vary throughout the company. This can be determined through factors such as the employees start date and birthday.

Feel free to contact us to find out more about the e-days online holiday planner and absence manager.


So, we’ve looked at what holiday burn is and why it’s a problem within organisations. We’ve also looked briefly into a few proactive measures you can take in order to limit the impact of holiday burn.

I hope you have found this article useful. Please leave any feedback and suggestions you may have.

e-days holiday planner can help you to manage your staff holiday burn and keep your business running smoothly.