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UK Employees Losing A Quarter of Their Annual Leave; Glassdoor UK Annual Leave Survey (2014)

The average UK employee only uses 77% of his or her annual leave per year, while 44% of employees say that they undertake some work while on holiday. Employees in Wales used the most annual leave (86%) and those in Scotland the least (66%). These are the findings of the Glassdoor UK Annual Leave Survey, which offers insight into how employees’ time off is becoming increasingly squeezed by their job duties and responsibilities.


With average annual leave in the UK at approximately 28 days per year, this means that employees could be losing 6.5 days every 12 months. We found that only half (50%) of UK employees take their full annual leave allowance, dropping to just 36% in the North East and 39% in Scotland. The survey also uncovered evidence of using annual leave to look for another job – in fact, 9% of employees that took time off said that they had used holiday days to interview for a new job. This rises to almost one in five (15%) for employees in London.

In addition, more than 2 in 5 (44%) employees who took annual leave admit to doing some work while on holiday. This is as high as 57% for Scottish employees and 51% for employees from London, and as low as 25% for employees from Wales. Almost one in five employees who took annual leave in the past year (19%) said that they had a difficult time not thinking about work while they were off. This is highest among employees in London (27%). When it comes to age differences, employees 25-34 years old find it most difficult not thinking about work while on leave (25%) compared to employees in other age groups.

Eighteen percent of employees who took paid time off in the past year said that a colleague has contacted them about a work-related matter, and 13% said that their boss contacted them about work.

The survey also explored why employees might do some work while they were on leave. 11% of employees said that they feared getting behind on their work, 10% said that they wanted a pay rise, 6% said that they fear not meeting their goals and 6% said that they fear losing their job.GD_UK_ReasonsWorkingWhileonHoliday

Do you take your full annual leave? Do you have a hard time switching off from work when you are out of the office? Are you expected to respond to work email and calls when on holiday from your employer? Help others know what it’s like to work at your company by sharing a review.

This survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Glassdoor among more than 2,000 employees within Great Britain.