Employers could earn £1.2 billion of 'free' work from their employees - here's why

Holiday suitcase

For some of us, it seems there's never enough annual leave for all the trips we'd like to take. But for many - 1.4 million, in fact - there's actually too much.

With heavy workloads and busy lives, millions of Brits find it difficult to take all their allocated annual leave. TravelSupermarket has released figures this week that show an average of 8.4 days per person will be forfeited by the end of the year, benefitting employers to the tune of £1.2 billion.

Even those with annual leave dates that follow the financial year say they won't be able to use up their holiday: 29% admitted they'll be unable to take all their allowance despite having five months of the year left.

The research found that the main reasons for not using up annual leave were a high workload, being unable to afford the time off and not wanting to waste the days. Over 10% of people even said they are concerned about how it might make them look to their employer.

Past studies have show, though, that taking annual leave is highly beneficial to employees, and that the pros outweigh the cons enormously. A 2016 report by Expedia showed that 90% of people feel less stressed and more relaxed after returning to work from a holiday, and 83% said they were more focused at work when they got back to their desk. And let's not forget: taking more trips could help you live longer.

“It’s worrying to see that so many Brits are still failing to get themselves organised and make the most of their annual leave,” Emma Grimster, spokesperson at TravelSupermarket said. “But the good news is, it’s not too late to do something about it.”

Here are a few ideas for using up your annual leave this year:

Take a mid-week spa break

Much cheaper mid-week, spa breaks are a great way to wind down and refresh - and they require very little organisation altogether. Try one of these top spa breaks in Britain >

Get a last-minute deal

There's no need to book months in advance to get a great deal on holiday. Booking at the last minute (even just a few days before) can save you hundreds. Use these tips for getting the best travel deals and holiday discounts >

Combine your hobby with your holiday

Whether you spend your evenings knitting or the kitchen is your favourite space, there are plenty of ways to combine what you love doing at home with a holiday abroad. Try these tips for tasking your hobby on holiday >

Go on a spiritual exploration

If a spa break in Britain isn't enough for you, consider taking a more spiritual break. You'll return to work feeling rejuvenated and inspired. The world's most spiritual destinations have been revealed here >

Get back to nature in Britain

If you don't have the cash for a break abroad, try a staycation. There are plenty of quiet, idyllic destinations on home ground offering an excellent way to refresh yourself before the annual leave year is up. These are some of the best countryside breaks in Britain >

Treat yourself to a fancy hotel break

Holidays don't have to be packed to the brim with activities - a simple hotel break can do just the trick when you're feeling stressed at work. Try one of these hotels with amazing views in Britain >

How to make the most of your annual leave in 2019

TravelSupermarket's travel editor Joey Tyson has tips for making the most of your 2019 annual leave allowance. Follow these brilliant hacks to get even longer holidays:

18-days off for the price of 9 in spring

You can get 18 days off by taking just nine annual leave days over Easter in 2019. Book off April 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30 and May 1, 2, and 3.

16 days for the price of 7 at Christmas

Book just seven days off (December 23, 24, 27, 30 and 31, and January 2 and 3) to get a fabulous 16 days off in total over the Christmas period in 2019/2020.

Lottie Gross

Lottie is an NCTJ-trained journalist, an experienced travel writer and an expert in creating compelling digital content. 

Lottie has been in the travel writing business for nearly a decade and has writing and photography bylines at The Telegraph, The Times, The Independent, the i and National Geographic Traveller. She's done broadcast work for BBC Radio 4 and have contributed to a number of guidebooks and coffee table titles during her career.