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Does your organisation need marriage leave?

Only 5% of employers offer marriage leave to newlyweds -

Only 5% of UK employers offer marriage leave on top of annual leave, according to new research from wedding app Hitched.

Marriage leave is an employee benefit that gives employees time off from work to celebrate their weddings and honeymoons without using their annual leave allowance.

The majority (82%) of workers used their annual leave for wedding celebrations (82%), while one in 10 chose to take this time as unpaid leave.

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Almost half (46%) of workers would swap out an existing benefit for additional leave options when getting married.

Kate Palmer, director at HR consultancy Peninsula, said the UK has no laws around marriage leave.

This is in contrast to countries such as Spain, where newlyweds are given 15 days off, and China, where there is a minimum allowance of three days off.

She said: “There is no such statutory concept of wedding leave or marriage leave in the UK, where time off work is given to staff members who are getting married. 

“Arguably, this is because employees in the UK already benefit from more statutory annual leave when compared with other countries in Europe.”

More than two thirds (67%) said that marriage leave should be rolled out in the UK.

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However, Palmer said employers who choose to introduce marriage leave should anticipate complaints from members of staff who won’t benefit from the additional benefits. 

She added: “They will likely express concerns about any decision that means they will miss out on days off work, just because they are not getting married.

“This could have an impact on employee morale, retention rates and even, worst case, company reputation. 

“An employer may be better off looking at increasing their flexibility around the taking of annual leave for all employees where there is good reason to do so.”