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Are Brits obsessed with working?

32% of the respondents said they used their holiday for medical appointments

UK workers are wasting an average of five days of their annual holiday entitlement a year, a recent survey has found, with as many as one in six workers going through the year with over a week of holiday left untaken. When quantified in monetary terms, we have completed £17bn worth of work for free.

The study, commissioned by Airtours in 2016, discovered that a whopping 40% of us are not using up our annual leave; in addition, we are spending less than half our time off actual relaxing.

When asked why they were not taking all the holiday to which they were entitled, one-quarter of the respondents admitted that they did not need or want to take their holiday.

Just over one-third said they had too much going on at work and could not spare the time, while one-quarter said they could not take their holiday as it had been refused due to clashes with other colleagues.

When they did take the time off, 32% of the respondents said they used their holiday for medical appointments, while 17% used their time to attend to other emergencies. Over half admitted that they spent their holiday doing general chores at home; in fact, we spend an average of around seven working days at home doing nothing much at all.

Other top things UK workers spend their annual leave on include DIY, gardening, shopping, studying, and just using up annual leave for the sake of it.

The commercial manager at Airtours, Stewart Davies, was amazed at how many of us are not making the most of our annual leave; as a result, Airtours has introduced promotions encouraging British workers to take the time off to which they are entitled.

Adrian Lewis, absence management specialist at Activ Absence, says that employers must also encourage their staff to take all their holiday entitlement. He explains that there is a good reason for there being working time regulations.

Studies have shown that workers are more productive in the countries that offer the greatest amount of paid holiday and the shortest working week; therefore, it is important that every employee takes all the time they are entitled to.

He added that Activ Absence’s software has a feature that alerts employers to remind employers if they are not regularly booking their holiday entitlement. This not only encourages staff to take their annual leave but also avoids a build-up of untaken holiday at the end of the year.

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