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What's Happening to Britain's Holidays?

44% of Brits don’t use all of their holiday allowance

44% of Brits aren’t using their full holiday allowance according to new data from tombola. A survey of the nation exposed the depth of the problem, with respondents citing that they are too busy at work or don’t have anywhere to go as their top reasons for not taking their breaks.

Are you one of the 44% of Brits not taking your full holiday allowance?

Almost a quarter of us are working at least 1 unpaid week each year

The survey also found that 23% ended their last working year with more than 5 days holiday not taken, meaning that they were effectively working those days for free. Our survey also found that only 24% of us take a break that lasts between 6 and 10 days in one go and 20% take 3 days or less.

This is concerning because evidence now shows that holidays could extend your life, especially longer breaks and should be taken as seriously as following an active lifestyle and a healthy diet.

Holidays Taken in 2018 image

We’re being ‘holiday shamed’ - A quarter of Brits feel guilty taking holidays

Shockingly, a quarter of us feel guilty for taking our rightfully earned breaks, saying that the culture of the office or workplace was responsible. 

why aren't people using their full allowance?

Are Brits working for free?

As we said earlier, 23% of those in our survey admitted to losing out on more than 5 days holiday, but 33% of respondents also said that they had been contacted while on holiday from their workplace. Whatever interaction comes from this and however long that takes, it’s yet more time that you’re not getting paid for, but that’s not the only areas we’re losing out on.

The main reason people gave for not taking their full allowance, was because they were too busy at work. This often leads to people trying to cram in as much as possible during the working week, so that they can enjoy their time off more. They do this by working extra, often without pay.

Our survey results showed that almost half of Brits (46%) are working overtime on a regular basis (daily or weekly).

how often do you work longer than your paid hours?

Taking an extended break could help you live longer

A recently concluded 40-year long study found that taking a holiday helped to reduce stress and the longer the holiday, the better. A section of the men involved in the study were given diet and lifestyle advice throughout the 40 years, to help them stay healthy. Yet Professor Timo Strandberg, of the University of Helsinki, Finland, stated

“In our study, men with shorter vacations worked more and slept less than those who took longer vacations. This stressful lifestyle may have overruled any benefit of the diet and lifestyle advice given.”

But this is bad news for employers, clients, employees - well, everyone involved really.

Harvard economist Juliet Schor says, "The pace of work has increased quite dramatically. We are working much faster today than we were in the past. And that contributes to our sense of being overworked and frenzied and harried and stressed out and burned out by our jobs."

The US has no paid leave mandate, so most people get far less than in EU countries. However, Juliet goes on to explain; “Europeans live longer and are healthier.”

So, if you think that working more yields better results, you’re heading down the wrong path. It’s important that we take time to relax and rejuvenate.

We think that’s a good enough reason to start planning our next holiday!

Book 4 days off and unwrap 11 at Christmas

With Christmas getting ever closer, a bit of forward planning will have you the envy of your colleagues. Take 4 days holiday allowance this Christmas and receive 11 days out of work.

Book these dates off:

  • Friday 24th December
  • Wednesday 29th December
  • Thursday 30th December
  • Friday 31st December

Because Christmas and Boxing day fall on a weekend this year, we get the following Monday and Tuesday off in lieu (27th & 28th). Additionally, the 3rd of Jan 2022 is our New Year’s day substitute due to it falling on a Saturday.

There’s something very satisfying about booking your holidays in ahead of time and giving yourself and your colleagues plenty of warning that you’ll be missing for a while. With almost a quarter of us working at least 1 week unpaid each year, this can help ensure you stick to those days off and prepare everyone for your absence so that it’s less likely you’ll be contacted by work when you’re away.

So what are you waiting for? Go book those holidays now and most of all, enjoy them!

Is your office coming on holiday with you?

Even when we do manage to get away, the office sometimes comes on holiday with us. 33% of respondents said that they were contacted by their workplace whilst on holiday and 44% said they have at some point checked their emails when away. 

The digital world has made our lives more connected in many ways. An “office” can now be anytime, anyplace. All you need is an internet connection and you’re immediately accessible. While this brings with it a lot of benefits, it can be hard to ‘switch off’ and truly relax.

In a report from 2017, the top 3 most productive countries in the world all work somewhere between 27 - 31 hours a week with between 4 and 5 weeks of paid leave, proving that fewer hours and more holidays is better for productivity.

most productive companies in the world

The UK, shockingly, is 17th on this list. We might have more holiday entitlement than many other countries but we’re also working more hours. And as we now know from this survey, we’re not taking all of our holiday allowance either!




Data correct as of February 2019