Extreme holiday deprivation: Aussies are sitting on a week’s worth of unused leave

On January 15, 2017 at 11:16 PM
  • Research from Expedia reveals we are wasting five days annual leave a year
  • Aussies are working 480 million extra hours per year*
  • 75% of Aussies would give up sex and booze just to have one extra day leave

Sydney, Australia, 16 January 2017 – Expedia, one of the world’s largest full service online travel sites, today released the results of the Vacation Deprivation® report, an annual study of holiday habits among employed adults in Australia.

The study found Aussies received 20 days annual leave from their employers each year, yet they only took 15. Not only do we have five days unused leaved, we rank third in the world for going a full working year without taking a single holiday, second only to the UAE and Brazil.

Whilst Aussies are struggling to take their full entitlement of 20 days leave, 75% of Aussies said they would give up sex and booze for a week for one extra day holiday and nearly two in five (39%) would give up social media and 29% would skip television.

Lisa Perkovic, Travel Expert, Expedia Australia: “Aussie workers effectively failed to take approximately 480 million hours of paid holiday leave last year*. This is up from just two wasted days in 2015, so it’s illustrative of the fact that Aussie workers are losing the battle to strike a good work life balance. Long gone are the days of leaving at 5pm and taking a well-deserved holiday; instead more than half of Aussies feel more stressed and much less relaxed at work (33%) than ever before.

“Holidays are good for us. After all, taking time to discover new places, engage in activities and spend time with family and friends is an ideal way to recharge. We believe holidays are critical to maintaining balance and we hope Aussies see this as a friendly reminder to take a few days off to disconnect and decompress,” she said.

Holiday time key to our happiness and health

Whilst not taking a holiday can take a toll on our health, two in five (42%) Aussies agreed holidays are crucial to their overall health and wellbeing. The study found:

  • When Aussies return from holidays, the clear majority of travellers agree they feel less stressed (92%), happier (93%), better rested (92%), in better health (90%) and more focused at work (83%).
  • Almost half (48%) of Aussies say holidays are critical for keeping their relationships with their partners on the right track, with 87% of Aussies saying they feel closer to their partner when they return.
  • When they don’t get enough holiday time, a quarter (25%) of employed Aussies say they are more easily aggravated at work.
  • Almost 80% of Aussies agreed the lasting effect of a holiday is felt long after the holiday finishes and they return feeling happier and in better health.

Disconnection is desired but difficult

Given the known benefits of holidays and the repercussion of not having enough holiday time, 50% of Aussies described themselves as vacation deprived. Yet, surprisingly 67% don’t feel guilty about taking leave, acknowledging ‘it’s their right’.

  • Disconnecting from work is a big part of what makes people happy while on holiday (49%), yet people still do it. More than half (53%) of Aussies admitted they checked their emails while on holiday.
  • Not only do employees check in at work while on holiday, one in three (29%) of employed adults say they have cancelled or postponed holiday plans because of work.
  • 75% of Aussies said they would give up sex and booze for a week for one extra day holiday. Two in five (39%) would give up social media and 29% would skip television.
  • More holiday time is ranked third on the list of what to ask for in a job negotiation, trailing ‘flexible work hours’ and ‘working from home’.

Testament to the importance of work life balance and going on a holiday for your overall health and wellbeing, Tyson Mayr, The Naked Traveller, took a leap of faith and quit his job for a much-needed holiday and hasn’t stopped.

“It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut believing our work lives make us who we are. But this isn’t true. Whether it’s eating a new cuisine, swimming in a remote beach or making friends from a different culture; the world is full of things for us to see, do and experience.

Life can quickly pass us by.  It’s important to make a travel wish list and be smart about planning and using your annual leave to start ticking off your list. At least one holiday a year can make a lifetime of difference,” Tyson said.

The effects of not taking holiday far outweigh the benefits of going on leave. Indeed, sleep deprivation, stress and anxiety can cause real health issues and be counter-productive in the workplace. The travel experts at Expedia have identified seven deprivations that can be easily cured by taking a well-deserved break.

For further information, travel tips, interviews or images please contact:

Melanie Wellington, Expedia                                                                      

Mobile: 0413 709 081 Email: mwellington@expedia.com.au                                                    

*According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, as of November 2016 there were just under 12 million Australians who work full-time.

About Vacation Deprivation

The study was conducted on behalf of Expedia by Northstar, a globally integrated strategic insights consulting firm. It was conducted online from September 12 to September 29, 2016, across North America, Europe, South America, and Asia Pacific using the Kantar-owned GMI (Global Market Insite) and Lightspeed Research amalgamated group of panels. The study was conducted among 9,424 employed adults aged 18 years of age and older across 28 countries, including 400 Australians. Sampling quotas and weighting were used to ensure the sample is representative of each country's population in terms of age and gender. Assuming a probability sample, the margin of error would be +/-1.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.