Survey shows 40% of workers don't take their full annual leave entitlement

We just can’t switch off: survey reveals nearly 40 percent of workers don’t take their full allocation of annual leave

Lifestyle Reporter


Lifestyle Reporter

Survey shows 40% of workers don't take their full annual leave entitlement

The latest survey shows that 40% of workers aren't take their annual leave.

The summer is coming and with it, the emptying of workplaces as people head off on their long-awaited holidays… or so you might have thought.

A new survey of the Irish workforce by reveals that almost 4 in 10 workers (37 percent) didn’t take their full allocation of annual leave in 2017. Just under half of respondents took a holiday longer than two weeks last year.

But even those who took a holiday found it hard to switch off—a third (33%) of respondents admitting to working while on annual leave.

The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 sets out a basic annual paid leave requirement of four working weeks (or 20 days) for full-time workers in Ireland. However, two-thirds (67 percent) of those surveyed are offered more than twenty days annual leave by their employer. Two percent of those surveyed are entitled to unlimited annual leave.

37 percent of respondents have the option to buy additional annual leave from their employer, meaning that some Irish workers can avail of up to 30 days annual leave per year.

What are the benefits of not taking your full allocation of annual leave?

So what are the benefits of not taking your full allocation of annual leave? Absolutely none—and studies show that those who don’t are at an increased risk of chronic stress. There are no financial benefits, either. According to the survey results, 70 percent of respondents said that they were not financially compensated for the annual leave they didn’t take in 2017.

Yet, the advantages of taking a holiday are clear. Taking time off from work or the daily grind not only helps people to de-stress, but it also helps work productivity. An article by Harvard Business Review outlines the benefits of taking a ‘vacation’ or holiday day, citing enhanced emotional agility and a greater ability to direct attention and energy to a subject.

Commenting on the results, General Manager Orla Moran said:

“The Irish workforce is extremely hard-working. Many are working in extremely competitive professional environments and understandably are eager to demonstrate their work ethic, ambition and commitment to their employer. One outcome is that employees become so consumed with their day job, taking annual leave becomes a secondary consideration.

“Therefore, while it is not particularly surprising to see that almost 40 percent of workers are not availing of their full annual leave allocation, in the long run this is a very unwise approach and one that will ultimately lead to burn out.

“It is important to remember that annual leave is essential time away from the workplace to switch off and recharge the batteries. We advise everyone to make full use of their statutory entitlement."