All work and no play for UK’s Small businesses

Almost a quarter of small business owners in the UK (24%) took fewer than five days’ holiday over the last year with 15% taking no leave at all, according to new research from Hitachi Capital Business Finance. Among start-ups, this figure rose to 31%, with 19% taking no leave.

At a time when most people are making plans for the long bank holiday weekend, Hitachi’s new research shows that whether by choice or compulsion, many of the UK’s small businesses will not taking a break away from the office.

Ploughing away – farmers least likely to take holiday
Half of those (50%) in the agricultural sector took fewer than five days’ holiday last year, with just over a quarter (28%) saying they took none at all. After this, the next most likely to have taken a maximum of five days’ leave were those in the retail sector (38%) or the legal professions (22%).

Women take less leave than men
More than a quarter of female small business owners (27%), took a maximum of 5 days’ leave, compared with 23% of male bosses. Men were also more likely to take more than 30 days’ holiday than women (14% vs. 11%).

North vs South
Small businesses in the North took fewer days than their southern counterparts, according to the results. Almost three in ten northern small enterprise owners (29%) took fewer than five days’ leave, compared with 24% of those based in the South. In London this figure dropped again to 19%.

By specific region, businesses in the North East were the least likely to take annual leave – 41% of bosses took less than five days’ leave. This was followed by 28% of bosses in the North West.

At the other end of the scale, there were those that did take their annual leave allowance as planned. More than two in five Scottish small businesses (41%), a third of those based in the West Midlands (35%), and 28% of company owners in the capital all took more than 26 days’ holiday last year.

Gavin Wraith-Carter, Managing Director at Hitachi Capital Business Finance commented: “Hitachi have carried out detailed research looking into the links between productivity and the health, happiness and wellbeing of an organisation’s employees. We completely support organisations that take this seriously, and see holidays as a key ingredient in the wellbeing mix. At the same time, we understand the pressures that small businesses face and that for many ‘time is money’.”

“Hitachi Capital helps businesses to be confident that their cash flow is well managed and their growth plans secure so that if and when they take time off, for however long they choose to do so, they are able to relax as they take their hard-earned leave.”