Half a million SME owners to work over Christmas holiday

With the rising costs of hiring staff, small business owners are sacrificing more of their own holiday time to keep their business running.

Around 472,000 small business owners will be working every day over the Christmas holiday without a single day off, according to a survey commissioned by business for sale marketplace, Bizdaq.

The research suggests that the cost of employing staff is an ever-growing issue – 2.3 million small business owners are not hiring additional staff due to rising costs of employment.

Apprenticeships don’t help the issue as only 14 per cent of small businesses are planning to take on an apprentice in 2017.

Small business owners are taking 11 days less holiday per year compared to full time workers’ holiday entitlement, with small business owners in the North set to work an average of 1.4 days more over the ten day period.

The research, conducted by Opinium, finds that almost half a million small business owners will be working every day over the Christmas holiday – including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. A total of 2.8 million small business owners will be working in some capacity over the Christmas holiday.

Of the small business owners that will be working over the Christmas holiday, 34 per cent say they were planning to work as they couldn’t afford to take the time off. A further 17 per cent of owners are unable to take time off as they do not have enough staff to cover this period.

The cost of finding, training and employing staff is holding back 2.3 million small business owners from hiring additional staff. Additionally the National Minimum Wage and the Living Wage was cited as a growing reason for not being able to hire employees.

Apprenticeships still under utilised by small businesses

Interestingly with the high numbers of small business owners stating that they can’t afford to take on new employees, only 14 per cent are planning to take on an apprentice in 2017. This is alarming considering the incentives available for businesses hiring an apprentice.

Holidays sacrificed throughout the year

Christmas isn’t the only time that small business owners are having trouble taking time off though, as over a third of small business owners (34 per cent) have only taken 10 or fewer days of holiday in 2016. The average amount of holiday days taken was 17, which is still over two weeks below the entitlement for an average full-time UK worker.

Sean Mallon, CEO of Bizdaq, says ‘It is clear that small business owners are still being let down by successive governments. The hard work and effort put into running and building small businesses is not reflected in the government’s attitude towards them, despite employing over 14.7 million across the UK. There have been many initiatives created with much noise, however the delivery has often been poor at best.

‘The apprenticeship scheme as an example is a great idea, however many small business owners still have very little knowledge or access to this, as evidenced by our report finding that only 14 per cent of small business owners plan on taking on an apprentice next year.’

Mallon concludes, ‘To see that over 60 per cent of small business owners won’t get a break over Christmas goes to show the dedication and passion they possess, and with 43 per cent citing high taxes as a reason contributing towards having to work such long hours is very disappointing.’

See also: How to switch off and still run a business at Christmas

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the Smallbusiness.co.uk and Growthbusiness.co.uk titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the Express.co.uk.

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