Australia’s annual leave crisis: fight burnout with national Book a Holiday Day

Shot of a tired businesswoman napping at her desk with adhesive notes on her eyes

New research shows that 2.4 million Australians have gone without leave for more than a year, which is having some nasty effects on our wellbeing.

The research comes from a survey conducted by Booking.com, who quizzed 1000 Aussies about their annual leave habits.

And the results are pretty grim – with 86 per cent of those who are postponing their leave experiencing burnout. Plus, only 31 per cent of us are using all our annual leave days each year.

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Encouragingly, those who have children are more likely to use their annual leave showing that the family dynamic is driving holidays as they take breaks for key periods. However, over half have said more leave days would give them greater flexibility to spend more time with their kids.

Kids or no kids, we’d bloody LOVE a few extra days of leave. Rest assured, the Travel Weekly office use AS MANY leave days as possible, but we think that says more about our work ethic than the rest of the country.

To start redressing this balance, the online travel platform is encouraging Aussies to make Friday 15 June (That’s today!) ‘Book A Holiday Day’, coinciding with mid-month pay week for many Australians, by dedicating time to researching and booking a holiday or short getaway to benefit their health and wellbeing.

Look, we’ll take any excuse to waste our Friday looking for our next holiday so we’d like to personally thank Booking.com for this one.

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“There are countless benefits of travel to simply take time off to explore, be inspired or unplug, whether for two weeks or two days, switching off and taking care of your health and wellbeing is a number one priority,” Luke Wilson, Booking.com spokesperson for Australia said.

Breaking it down by state, data shows that South Australians are the nation’s biggest workaholics with only 19 per cent using all of their annual leave and over a third going without leave for 7-12 months. Queenslanders (25 per cent) and Western Australians (30per cent) are also guilty of not taking leave for the longest period of 1-2 years.

On the other hand, New South Wales and Victoria are the most likely to take a well-earned break with 36 per cent and 34 per cent respectively stating they always use their annual leave allocation. Across the generations, Baby Boomers have had longer breaks without annual leave for up to two years on average, which is double the longest time Gen X and Millennials are willing to wait for a break.

The survey also uncovered a strong need for Australian workers to take advantage of their leave and take a break for their health. With the majority of workers experiencing burnout as a result of not taking enough holidays, three in ten workers admit to leaving work early due to exhaustion, while an equivalent of almost 1 million workers admitting to falling asleep at work.

Consequences of experiencing burnout from not taking enough annual leave
Loss of concentration51%
Worked more slowly than usual43%
Taking one or more sick days38%
Eating unhealthily (junk/sugary foods)36%
Consuming too much caffeine in order to stay focused33%

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