Small business owners 'will work every day of the Christmas holidays'

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Small business owners are unlikely to get much of a break over the festive season, a new study suggests.

According to research by Bizdaq, 472,000 small business owners will work every single day throughout the Christmas holidays.

The study also showed that 2.8 million owners of small businesses are expected to work in some capacity over this period. 

This trend appears to be particularly common in the north, with bosses in this part of the country working an average of 1.4 extra days throughout the festive season.

More than a third of those who said they plan to work at Christmas admitted they are doing so because they cannot afford to take time off.

Meanwhile, nearly one in five stated that they are not able to take time off as they do not have enough employees to cover the Christmas period.

Figures from Bizdaq also revealed that many bosses are sacrificing holiday time during other parts of the year as well.

Indeed, the study showed that small business owners take 11 days less holiday than the annual entitlement of a full-time worker.

More than one in three have taken ten or fewer days of holiday this year, with the average amount of leave taken coming to just 17 days.

Sean Mallon, Chief Executive of Bizdaq, has therefore urged ministers to help small business owners make sure they are able to take on the number of employees they require to keep their ventures afloat.

"It is clear that small business owners are still being let down by successive governments," he commented.

"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."

For instance, Mr Mallon noted that while the apprenticeship scheme is a "great idea", many small business owners have "very little knowledge or access to this".

This was borne out by the research, which indicated that just 14 per cent of small business owners intend to take on an apprentice in the coming year.

Mr Mallon went on to state that the fact nearly two-thirds of bosses will not get a break over Christmas demonstrates their passion and dedication.

However, he said the finding that nearly half of these people consider high taxes to be a reason why they have to work such long hours is "very disappointing".

Another issue that small business owners might face over the festive season is keeping staff who are also working over Christmas engaged throughout.

A new study by Cotton Traders revealed that 48 per cent of those who will work during the festive season do not like being away from their family and friends, while a similar proportion do not like being unable to relax at Christmas. 

Furthermore, nearly four in ten resented seeing other people enjoying themselves outside work.

Small business owners might have therefore have to take extra measures to improve morale in the workplace during the Christmas holiday period, even if they themselves are also feeling unhappy at having to continue working.