top reason Brits miss annual leave
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Millions of Brits suffer from a fear of annual leave because they have too much work to do, or feel their boss wouldn’t approve it.

A poll of 2,000 office workers found that out of the average 28-day entitlement, 28 per cent of staff leave five days a year unclaimed.

One in 10 adults say they don’t have anyone they can hand work over to, so end up staying to do it themselves.

And the same figure describe taking a holiday as ‘pointless’ because they’d only end up working through it anyway.

Chris Logan, managing director at Crystal Ski Holidays, which commissioned the research in conjunction with the launch of new short break ski holidays, said: “Not every employer is happy to sign off holiday requests.

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“And not all staff feel comfortable booking leave, fearing they won’t be able to switch off from work anyway.

“The findings suggest more than three million office workers aren’t using all the leave they are entitled to, which means huge numbers of adults who are probably stressed, over-worked and over-tired by the end of the year”.

The study also found the average worker isn’t comfortable booking any more than eight days holiday in one go - with one fifth preferring to book four days or less.

And one quarter of employers claim to feel happier using annual leave for shorter breaks.

top reason Brits miss annual leave

The majority of those polled do manage to enjoy their time off when they take it, but just under one in 20 can’t enjoy a holiday because of work stress.

This is because they spend the whole time thinking about work (30 per cent), feeling guilty about being off (17 per cent) or check their emails anyway (18 per cent).

A third are hesitant to request annual leave because they worry what their boss will think, and the same amount believe a holiday isn’t worth the stress of compiling a mega-handover.

Miss out on all of your annual leave last year?

Here are the top 10 reasons Brits didn’t take all their annual leave in 2019

  1. I had too much work to do
  2. It wasn’t worth the hassle of coming back to a mountain of work
  3. I couldn’t afford to go on holiday
  4. I had no one I could hand my work too
  5. I worry too much about what will happen while I’m away
  6. It was pointless as I’d only have worked on my annual leave anyway
  7. I had no one to go away with / spend it with
  8. I didn’t think the boss would approve
  9. I love work and don’t desire time off
  10. I didn’t feel I could abandon my clients / customers

Aleesha is a digital shopping writer at woman&home—so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows what the best buys are at any moment. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 and has since worked with a number of brands including Women's Health, Stylist and Goodto. A year on the w&h news team gained her invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first—as well as an AOP awards nomination.