While there’s no law that stipulates Australian workers must take their full allotment of paid leave every year, we all know the benefits of a well-timed holiday. Sometimes, returning to work refreshed, relaxed, and reinvigorated can be just what you needed. In fact, studies5 have shown that for every 10 hours of leave taken, employee performance improved by 8% in their subsequent performance review.
Unfortunately, Aussie workers seem to feel too restricted to take advantage of this. Once again, the gender divide is evident: only 44.4% of women surveyed took all of their annual leave last year, compared to 52.6% of men.
35-44 year olds were the only age group where more than half (57.2%) of surveyed employees took all of their paid leave last year. By this age, it’s likely that employees will be well settled into their careers, allowing them the freedom to take all of their leave. People in this age group are also likely to have families and young children, so it’s possible they wanted to take all of their leave to spend extra time with their families, take care of their children, and avoid missing important milestones.
Surprisingly, South Australia had the highest percentage of surveyed employees who took all of their annual leave (54.3%), despite also having a high percentage who felt work commitments restricted their ability to take leave. Likewise, Tasmania had the fewest surveyed employees who took all of their leave last year (42.9%), despite also having the fewest employees who felt work commitments restricted their ability to take leave. While this may seem contradictory, it could indicate that when employees feel less restricted, they’re less likely to suffer job-related burnout, while also enjoying the freedom to save up their leave for larger holidays in the future.
Actually, nearly half of Australians surveyed (49.6%) are planning to do exactly this, saying they were saving their leave for future use. This sentiment was shared pretty evenly between demographics. Who doesn’t like a nice, long holiday, after all?
More concerning, however, are some of the other reasons why Australians didn’t take their full allotment of leave - with guilt featuring prominently.