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Over half of European employees have the freedom to take holiday when they choose


London, 18 June 2019 — Over half (57%) of European employees have the opportunity to take their main holiday leave at a time that suits them best, with an additional 22% always having the option. However, 9% of employees in Europe are not able to take holiday when they choose. These are the results of a survey from leading provider of global payroll and HR services, SD Worx, which looks into employee satisfaction, motivation, involvement and engagement.

Out of the countries surveyed, employees in Belgium are most likely to be able to take holiday leave when it suits them, with 49% of employees generally having the option and 35% always having the option. France scored the lowest of all countries with 58% generally having the option to book holiday when they want and only 14% always having the option.


    The survey also found that most employees (34%) arrange holiday directly with their manager. Arranging holiday with both a direct manager and fellow colleagues came a close second at 32%. Some 20% of employees decide their holiday with their colleagues, and only 11% are able to book holiday leave without having to arrange it with anyone else.

    Employees in the UK are the least likely to be able to arrange holiday leave on their own, with only 5% stating they have this option. Belgium again scored the highest with 17% of those surveyed being able to decide their own holiday leave. Austria scored the highest in terms of taking a collaborative approach towards booking holiday, with 36% of employees stating that they arrange holiday leave with both a direct manager and their colleagues. Germany came a close second at 35%, with the Netherlands just behind at 34%.


      Hilde Haems, CHRO of SD Worx Group comments: “As work/life balance has grown in importance over the past few years, it’s not surprising that most employees can generally book holiday leave when they chose. However, looking at the country by country breakdown, it’s interesting to see how each country differs. Belgium, for example, appears to be ahead of the curve when it comes to giving employees freedom over holiday compared to the rest of Europe. Considering the increasing need for employees to have autonomy over the work they do and the impact that has on productivity, the rest of Europe has a real opportunity when it comes to how holiday leave is structured.”

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        Laura Lovejoy/Katie Evans
        +44(0)20 7680 5500

          About the survey

          The Europe LTD survey is a questionnaire on one hundred work-related aspects relevant to employee satisfaction, motivation, involvement and engagement. Since 2009, the survey has been carried out annually among 2,500 Belgian employees under the name NV Belgium. Because of its international growth, SD Worx expanded this survey in 2017 to include Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria and the United Kingdom. It concerns 500 employees each time.

          The sample is representative of the specific local labour markets, with the same composition as to statute ((blue-collar) workers, office workers and civil servants), gender, region, work regime, language, educational degree and organisation size as that of the active labour population in the countries concerned.

            About SD Worx

            As a leading European provider of payroll and HR solutions, SD Worx guides organisations in managing their existing and their new workforce, with a full-service package in the areas of Staffing, Payroll, Time and Talent. SD Worx delivers the best suited approach for every situation, providing the insights, expertise, outsourcing services and technology HR- decision makers need for their organisation and their individuals to thrive. Today, more than 68,000 small and large organisations across the globe place their trust in SD Worx and its nearly 75 years' worth of experience. In 2018, SD Worx achieved a consolidated turnover of EUR 594.4 million with its two entities.

            SD Worx Group offers its payroll and HR outsourcing services, software and consultancy services in 92 countries, calculates the salaries of approximately 4.6 million employees and ranks among the top five worldwide. The more than 4,150 employees at SD Worx operate in ten countries: Belgium (HQ), Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK. It is the co-founder of the Payroll Services Alliance, a global strategic network of leading payroll companies that together handle 32 million payroll calculations.

            Since 2018, SD Worx Staffing Solutions has been offering flexible and temporary employment, secondment, recruitment and selection, outplacement and career guidance services in Belgium and the Netherlands. SD Worx Staffing Solutions has more than 450 employees and employs an average of 5,500 temps on a daily basis through its more than 3,000 customers.