A new survey of the Irish workforce by IrishJobs.ie reveals that almost 4 in 10 workers (37%) didn’t take their full allocation of annual leave in 2017. Just under half of respondents took a holiday longer than two weeks last year.
The research shows that even those who took a holiday found it hard to switch off, with a third (33%) of respondents admitting to working while on annual leave.
The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 sets out a basic annual paid leave requirement of four working weeks (or 20 days) for full-time workers in Ireland. However, two-thirds (67%) of those surveyed are offered more than twenty days annual leave by their employer. Two percent of those surveyed are entitled to unlimited annual leave.
Thirty seven percent of respondents have the option to buy additional annual leave from their employer, meaning that some Irish workers can avail of up to 30 days annual leave per year.
IrishJobs.ie say there is absolutely no benefits to not taking annual leave. The employment experts say studies show that those who don’t are at an increased risk of chronic stress and there are no financial benefits, either. According to the survey results, 70% of respondents said that they were not financially compensated for the annual leave they didn’t take in 2017.
Yet, IrishJobs.ie say the advantages of taking a holiday are clear. They say that taking time off from work or the daily grind not only helps people to de-stress, but it also helps work productivity. An article by Harvard Business Review outlines the benefits of taking a ‘vacation’ or holiday day, citing enhanced emotional agility and a greater ability to direct attention and energy to a subject.
IrishJobs.ie General Manager, Orla Moran said, "The Irish workforce is extremely hard-working. Many are working in extremely competitive professional environments and understandably are eager to demonstrate their work ethic, ambition and commitment to their employer. One outcome is that employees become so consumed with their day job, taking annual leave becomes a secondary consideration. Therefore, while it is not particularly surprising to see that almost 40 percent of workers are not availing of their full annual leave allocation, in the long run this is a very unwise approach and one that will ultimately lead to burn out."
She added, "It is important to remember that annual leave is essential time away from the workplace to switch off and recharge the batteries. We advise everyone to make full use of their statutory entitlement."