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Take That Annual Leave

By Sonya Buck, Australia


Whether spent at home or away, think about it, when did you last take a holiday?


Did you know that 1 in 4 workers are stockpiling their holidays?* Are you part of this statistic? 


There are many reasons employees may not be taking their annual leave and some are mentioned here.


In times of low unemployment, like we have now (5.8%, our worst since the seventies is 11%), job security may be one factor which may make us feel like we need to work extra hard, as there are few alternative jobs on offer should you lose yours.


Some may be feeling a little insecure and reluctant to be away from the workplace.  You may be thinking “if they can do without me for a month…….they can…..” 


No judgement here, but you could be a workaholic or quite ambitious.


In some workplaces, you may feel like there is never the right time to be away, it’s just too busy.  Your reason for not taking your annual leave could be you just can’t afford to go away on holiday.


Let’s think about health for a moment.  Not taking your leave can seriously impact your health or even worse.  As a Manager, I’ve counselled colleagues to ensure they take their leave, as I’ve known someone who never took time off and passed away at their desk. This example may be extreme, but it does make you think.


If you are overtired or even feeling burnt out, you just can’t function properly.  Take an airline pilot for example. There are a limited number of hours they can work with forced rest breaks being mandatory.  Maybe we should think the same way about leave entitlements.


On a practical level, you need to remember if you accrue too much annual leave your employer may be able to choose the timing and just tell you to go. One reason employers make leave mandatory is that it appears as a liability on their balance sheet.  If you multiply the unused annual leave by the number of staff with the same, the dollar figure can really add up.


Some workplace agreements allow you to cash in your annual leave but think carefully about taking this option.


As many of us know, we are more connected to your workplace than ever before.  Often there is nowhere to go, with mobile phone calls and emails arriving 24/7.  This makes going on holiday (with a full disconnect) even more important.


Of course, if you and your employer are both onboard for you to save up your leave for a big trip, ignore this article altogether. You might need some weekend mini breaks to reach this goal.


If you have just had your summer holiday break, sorry I am preaching to the converted. If you haven’t taken your annual leave in while, put in that request form nice and early.


*Roy Morgan Research