Do You Use All Your Annual Leave?

Do You Use All Your Annual Leave?
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Australians suck at taking time off work — according to a recent Expedia study, one in six Aussies failed to take a single day of leave in 2018. Even when we do go on a holiday, most of us find it hard to fully unplug while we’re supposedly “away.”

A survey has found that only 31% of Australian workers use up all of their annual leave days each year. Around 2.4 million full-time working Aussies have gone over a year without taking leave, with 86% of experiencing burnout as a result of not taking enough.

Over in the US, WNYC’s Brian Lehrer opened up his phone lines on Thursday to ask why we aren’t using our vacation time. The answers he received ranged from waiting until the last minute (and then feeling too busy to justify the time off), to an office culture that correlates time off with a lack of dedication.

One caller, who says she works for a small business, received an email in August of last year that informed employees the office would be closed for a period of time around Christmas and New Year’s and to “please plan your vacation days accordingly.”

Some employees had already used most of their annual leave days and were then forced to take at least a portion of that time off without pay, the caller said. (This is actually legally permissible – even in Australia which has much better workplace protections than America.)

Many countries around the world set minimums for the amount of time off a worker is entitled to. Those minimums include 30 days in Brazil and Spain, 20 days in Australia and New Zealand, about 28 days in the United Kingdom, 25 days in Denmark and Sweden, and five weeks in France, according to Business Insider.

If you’re among that group, we want to know: Do you use all your days? Do you fully unplug when you do? And why or why not?



  • I wonder if there are many readers who, if they take time off work, whatever they missed at work will still be waiting for them when they return. The only difference is it takes a week or two to catch up.

    When I do need time off, the reason I write on the form is “deferred work”.

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