Less than half of employees take all their annual holiday allowance, according to the results of a survey by jobs and recruitment site Glassdoor. The survey of more than 2,000 full- and part-time employees also found that 40 per cent took half their annual leave or less.
When it comes to taking leave, there are demographic differences; for example, workers in the 18-24 and 25-34 age groups were the least likely to take their full allowance of annual leave. The numbers were 35 per cent and 40 per cent respectively.
Even when employees do take a period of leave, it seems they are not taking a complete break from work; in fact, just half of the employees surveyed said they could ‘check out’ of work completely and were not expected to be reachable. Nearly one-quarter of the respondents aged 18-24 reported that they were regularly contacted when on leave, while 20 per cent of all those surveyed said there was an expectation that they would remain reachable.
These results differed between male and female employees, with 52 per cent of women and 46 per cent of men saying they could switch off from work while on leave. Slightly more women than men indicated that they work while on holiday – 16 per cent of women compared with 14 per cent of men. Of all employees, 15 per cent had been contacted by their boss while on leave and nearly one-quarter reported that they checked their work emails.
It seems that UK-based employees are not alone when it comes to attitudes to annual leave. In a comparable study conducted by the US Glassdoor website in 2017, it was found that employees across the pond take just over half their annual leave allowance on average and two-thirds work while on holiday.
One-quarter of US employees who responded to the survey reported that they are contacted by their boss while they are on leave. Across both countries, one of the main reasons cited for not taking leave was the fear of ‘falling behind’.
In response to the UK results, Glassdoor’s managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, John Lamphiere, encouraged employees to work out a plan to take their full quota of annual leave.
He also warned that the results highlight that employees who are expected to be available for work matters while on holiday may end up looking for alternative employment. This is further underlined by the fact that 24 per cent of respondents to the UK survey said they have attended an interview for another job while on a period of annual leave.
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