Half of British workforce fails to take full annual leave

Half of British workforce fails to take full annual leave
  • 90 per cent of employees feel more productive at work following a holiday
  • Diligent Brits work 70.5 hours overtime each year
  • Almost half of UK workers admit to checking emails or doing work whilst away

Will reclaiming our annual leave help make us more productive? According to our latest research, which found that over half of UK workers (54 per cent) forgo an average of three days leave each year, the answer might be yes.

In fact, despite a resounding 90 per cent of employees claiming a well deserved break increases their productivity at work, the average full time worker takes just 22 days of their average 25 days allocated leave.

They also admit to putting in an average of 70.5 hours overtime each year, saving their employers almost £1,000.*

Too busy for a break?

More than two in five (45 per cent) employees admit to cancelling holiday for work, with a quarter of hard working Brits (24 per cent) claiming they would rather forfeit the occasional day off than leave work undone or fall behind.

Diligent workers will also cram in four extra hours of work on average the week before they take a break.

Other reasons Brits fail to take their full leave include a lack of organisation; almost one in five (18 per cent) say they’re so busy they forget to book time off, and one in eight (12 per cent) admit they plan their holidays poorly and end up with too many days to take at the end of the year.

Seven day forecast

According to the average British worker, the key amount of time to take off work to ensure they are feeling recharged and productive when they return is five to seven days.

Whilst away, almost a third of employees (31 per cent) like to switch off completely, but almost half (48 per cent) admit to checking emails or doing some work during their break.


Perhaps surprisingly, one in six people (17 per cent) indicated that they actually look forward to returning to work after a holiday.

Of those, two in five (37 per cent) relish getting back into a routine, and almost a third (31 per cent) look forward to catching up with colleagues.

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Survey of 2,129 people from the reed.co.uk database.

* 52 weeks – 5 working weeks (average 25 days annual leave) = 47 weeks in work 

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