Leasing Professionals

Quarter of UK SMEs take just five days’ holiday year


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, with money worries and concerns about cashflow among the reasons.

Hitachi comissionsed a YouGov poll that interviewed 1,244 SMEs between April 3-18 this year.

Among start-ups, this figure rose to 31%, with 19% taking no leave.

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%).

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%).

Regional differences

Small businesses in the North took fewer days than their southern counterparts, according to the results. Almost three in 10 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, Hitachi Capital Business Finance managing director, said: “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’.”

Wraith-Carter said Hitachi Capital is helping SMEs to be confident that they have their cash-flow well managed to the point where they can feel comfortable taking time off.