Honest Burgers to allow staff to take paid four-week ‘sabbaticals' to use up holiday

19 April 2021 by
Honest Burgers to allow staff to take paid four-week ‘sabbaticals' to use up holiday

In a bid to address staff holiday accumulation over the last year, Honest Burgers has said staff will be able to roll over their unused holiday until 2023 and take up to four weeks at a time.

The government last year amended regulations to allow annual leave to be carried over into 2022 for workers who had not been able to take leave due to Covid-19. Honest Burgers has decided to allow staff an extra year to use up their leave and extend the usual two-week holiday limit so all employees can use their leave for four consecutive weeks.

"We didn't feel it was right to force people to take holiday on furlough, because where could they go?" director of operations Brian Gillian told The Caterer.

"As we come into this new financial year we realised we have all this holiday to take up, and from an operational point of view, one of the things I would have been anti would be if everyone had started taking every weekend off. That would have impacted our customer experience and how we can operate the restaurants. Taking it as big lump helps us with planning and deployment, and recruitment needs as well."

Gillian said the group, which has 45 sites and around 560 team members, would make it work by sharing staff across its mainly London-based sites once Covid restrictions allowed.

"We do need a little bit of notice, but the team's all up for it… It's gone down a storm," he said.

"Being stuck on furlough or in and out of flexi-furlough has been really tough on the guys. There's a mental wellbeing part of this as well – being able to really genuinely switch off and recharge properly. It's going to be a tough-ish summer; I think we saw a little bit of that with Eat Out to Help Out last year. It drove lots of customers, but it was quite hard on the guys in the restaurants. Being able to give them some genuine downtime is going to be much needed – and they can take it any time."

He added: "It's not going to be easy but if you want to make it work, you can. That's the stance we've taken."

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