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Half of UK employees don't take all their annual leave

Only half of UK employees take all of their annual leave allowance, with regional differences showing that not many more than a third do in the North East and Scotland.

On average, an employee takes around three-quarters (77 per cent) of his or her annual leave, according to the Glassdoor Annual Leave Survey.

With the statutory annual leave entitlement for a typical full-time job being 28 days, this means that the average worker foregoes almost 6.5 days leave each year.

And even when on leave, nearly half of respondents (44 per cent) said that they worked while away from the office.

Almost one in five said they had been contacted by a colleague and 13 per cent said their boss had been in touch.

Fear of getting behind

When asked why they worked on leave, the most common answer was 'fear of getting behind' (11 per cent). Others did so because they wanted a pay rise (10 per cent), because they felt no one else could do the work (9 per cent), or because they were unable to disconnect (7 per cent).

But for some (6 per cent) it was fear of losing their job that kept them working while on leave, with this being a particular worry for those in the North East (14 per cent) and Scotland (12 per cent).

Some used their holiday to scout around for a new job, with nearly one in ten saying they had done so to go to a job interview.

Acas publications and services

The pdf icon Advice leaflet - Holidays and holiday pay [266kb] has everything you need to know on leave entitlement and public holidays.

Acas experts can visit your organisation and help you find practical solutions to any issues associated with holidays and holiday pay. See Contracts and hours: how Acas can help for details.

Practical training is also available on Contracts and terms and conditions, and Employing People - A Practical Introduction.

For free, impartial advice and guidance visit Acas Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.


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