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Nearly Half of Employees Say a Time-Off Request Was Turned Down


Almost half of employees questioned said their employer rejected a time-off request this past year, according to a survey conducted by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated.

The Working Your Way survey of 3,000 employees in eight nations found that of the 47% who have had a time-off request rejected, 26% had a vacation request denied; about a fifth were not permitted to use personal time (22%) or sick time (16%); and 10% said their employer rejected a bereavement request.

  • In the United States, 21% of public safety employees have had a sick day request rejected, followed closely by 18% of retail associates. Vacation time is the most commonly rejected time-off request for manufacturing (23%) and health-care (17%) employees.
  • Nearly half of all surveyed employees directly blame their manager (45%) when a time-off request is rejected. That could create an uncomfortable rift that further disengages employees. The countries with the highest percentage of blaming the manager were: Mexico (49%), Australia and New Zealand (48%), Canada (46%), and Germany (46%).
  • Canada, the United Kingdom and United States lead the survey in workaholics, with 11% of respondents reporting they have not asked for any time off within the last year.

41% of employees believe preventing employee burnout is a top priority for their organization

  • 29% said they are currently approaching a state of burnout and need their workload to change. Workers in France (42%) and Mexico (40%) said the situation is most severe.
  • 31% of employees believe their manager does not care if they burn out.
  • 72% of employees said they try hard to avoid sick days. That may be a byproduct of stringent company policies around sick time, as 29% of survey respondents also say they’re expected to be at work even when they are ill. In fact, 25% are required to report to work while ill so their manager can judge how sick they are.
  • Access to sick pay is a likely barrier to rest and recovery. Nearly half of employees in Mexico (45%) and France (43%) said they work while ill because they are not paid for sick leave. This is also true for one-third (34%) of UK employees, as well as a quarter of those in Canada (27%), Australia/New Zealand (27%) and the United States (22%).

90% of employees think their organization can improve scheduling

  • With an eye on technology, 33% of employees want solutions that make it easier to swap shifts, seek coverage from colleagues, or opt into open shifts for more hours, especially through mobile phones and tablets.
  • 28% wish their organization would embrace self-scheduling, allowing employees to build their own schedules or select preferred shifts that make it easier to manage personal responsibilities outside of work.
  • Also, 28% are frustrated with how long it takes managers to approve time-off and scheduling change requests.

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