A quarter of UK SME bosses take just five days’ holiday per year

According to research from Hitachi Capital Business Finance, almost a quarter of small business owners in the UK (24 per cent) have taken fewer than five days holiday in the last year, with an astonishing 15 per cent taking no leave at all. The main reasons for this include money worries and concerns regarding cash flow. 

Hitachi commissioned a YouGov poll that interviewed 1,244 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from 3 April to 18 April this year.

Results found that, among start-up companies, figures increased to 31 per cent, with 19 per cent taking no leave at all.

Meanwhile, in the agricultural sector, half of those SME bosses took less than five days’ holiday last year, with 28 per cent stating they took none at all.

The second sector that was most likely to have a lack of leave was retail, at 38 per cent, shortly followed by legal professions at 22 per cent.

The percentage of female business owners that took a maximum of five days leave was 27 per cent, compared to 23 per cent of male bosses. Statistics identified that men were more likely to take more than 30 days’ holiday than women (14 per cent vs 11 per cent).

Amongst the findings, there were significant regional differences, with small business owners in the north of the UK taking fewer days leave than their southern counterparts.

Three in 10 northern small enterprise owners took fewer than five days’ annual leave, compared with one in four of those based in the south. In London, this dropped to 19 per cent.

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’.”