Embarking on a new career path as a PAYE umbrella contractor brings with it many advantages –greater flexibility, becoming your own boss and an improved work life balance being just some of the claims frequently cited.  However, contractors working through umbrella companies could also be amongst the 40 per cent of UK workers who are reluctant to take completely legitimate time off work, often to their own detriment.

That is the chief finding from a recent study by the recruitment agency reed.co.uk, which reveals that well over a third of the British workforce (40 per cent) had failed to take their full allocation of annual leave.  In addition, well over half (57 per cent) of those polled admitted that they had refused to take the average four to five weeks of annual leave in 2010.

Furthermore, a quarter of the workers surveyed in the study expressed anxiety about taking leave because of having to deal with a huge pile-up of work upon their return.  The beneficial effects of couple of weeks’ relaxation on a sun-drenched beach can, it seems, be wiped away within hours of returning to work.

Commenting on the research, the Managing Director of reed.co.uk, Michael Warnes suggested that, with the economy remaining in such a parlous state, large numbers of UK workers are experiencing heightened concern about job security, including the prospect of losing contracts.  As a result, they are attempting to stay in the good books of their bosses and clients by sacrificing annual leave entitlements.  Whilst the research confirms that the UK is a nation of very committed workers, Mr Warnes continued, “overworking will lead to reduced levels of engagement, motivation, and happiness.”

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