Back to News & Insights
/ Tax

Should we (the British) work more or less?

Author: Henry Ejdelbaum

Tags: annual leave, holiday, small businesses, SME, World Economic Forum

The holiday period is drawing to an end and if, like me, you have struggled with the mass of out of office replies and answer-phone messages from colleagues and business associates that are away, then here is a novel thought; why don’t we all go on holiday at the same time?

The majority of business associates and potential partners that I have tried to speak to over the last few weeks were away. It triggered a thought; should we be more like the Swedish and take 4-5 weeks off over the summer at the same time or like the French with 5 weeks holiday and as many as 9 days for public holidays?

Or should we adopt the American way and reduce the amount of holiday. Christmas week in the US represents about half the time off that American employees will enjoy all year round.

This argument isn’t about holiday entitlement, it’s about whether, as a business community, we would benefit from having more or less holiday and if the answer is more, then should we all have it at the same time so that trading is conducted in unity outside that holiday period?

According to the World Economic Forum report Sweden and its Nordic neighbours are “top performers and true leaders” in Europe, so they are clearly doing something right. On the reverse you have the US which operates completely differently but is also one of the world’s super powers. Maybe it’s a subject of scale and the ability to enforce such an effective holiday system.

The question is, do you think we would benefit as a small business community if we had more of less time off and had it during the same period?