Use annual leave now – or risk losing it forever

The end of the year is fast approaching, so check now if you’ve got any annual leave to use up - or risk losing it for good.


More than a million of us could lose some of our annual leave this year if we don’t book in a break from work before the end of December.

This is according to research by TravelSupermarket, which revealed that around 1.1m UK workers have an average of five holiday days left to take before the end of the year.

Assuming we typically work an average of just over 39 hours a week, that means collectively we could end up working up to 43 million hours for NOTHING from now until the end of December.

Get booking

If we don’t use our annual leave, businesses will benefit from a potential £580m in ‘free’ work days.

Bob Atkinson, travel expert at TravelSupermarket said: “Year after year many Brits fail to get themselves organised and run the risk of losing some of their annual leave entitlement.

“Five days of holiday opens up a host of possibilities – so now is the perfect time to consider your options and make some firm plans. Get those leave requests in as soon as possible and you can then make the most of your well-earned time off.”

Least likely to use leave

If you work in the public sector, you’re among those who are least likely to use their holiday allocation.

More than half (53%) of those working in the Civil Service claim they won’t be able use all of their remaining allowance, while one in four employers in the healthcare sector, including doctors, nurses and paramedics, say they will struggle to book their holiday off before the end of the year.

Teachers and those working in the education sector also say they will find it tricky to use up holiday they are owed, with 39% saying they won’t be able to use it all by the end of December.

Why we aren’t using holiday

The main reason many of us (42%) aren’t in any rush to use up our holiday allowance by the end of the year is that we plan to carry it over to next year.

Meanwhile, one in five said they’ve already taken all the holiday they want to.

A further 13% said they didn’t have time to take a holiday while 14% said they didn’t have the cash to take a break.

One in three people in the 35-54 year-old age groups gave financial problems or too many work commitments as the reasons they couldn’t use up their holiday.

Capital workers the best at time management

TravelSupermarket’s research found that employees in the North West find it hardest to manage their holiday time, with just over one in three not planning to use their holiday up before the end of the year.

Londoners are the best at making the most of time off, with less than one in four saying they won’t make the most of their allowance.

This is despite the fact that those living in the capital have an average of 10 days left to use rather than five.

Plight of self-employed

The self-employed often get an even worse deal than employees when it comes to holidays.

Although many workers assume being freelance or a contractor gives you much more flexibility, when it comes to taking a break, any holidays you do take are unpaid.

That means people who work for themselves often only take a small number of days off each year so that they can continue to cover things like mortgage payments and utility bills.

Take a break!

Whether you are an employee or self-employed, it’s vital to take time off to recharge those batteries.

Having a rest usually pays off in the long-run as most of us are more productive after a break, so don’t waste any unused holiday.

Remember too, that many employers won’t let you roll over any holiday allowance you haven’t used to next year, so if you don’t make the most of it now, it could be gone for good.

Got a friend who has a lot of annual leave to use up? Click here to send this article to them by email.

Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

Did you enjoy that? Why not share this article

Take control of your energy bills

Our handy tips and tools will help make sure you never overpay again

Popular guides