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      VIDEO: Do you suffer from F.O.A.L (fear of annual leave)?

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      Millions of workers aren’t taking all of their annual leave – because they have too much work to do, or feel their boss wouldn’t approve it.

      A poll of 2,000 office workers found that out of the average 28-day entitlement, 28 per cent of staff leave five days a year unclaimed.

      One in 10 adults say they don’t have anyone they can hand work over to, so end up staying to do it themselves.

      And the same figure describe taking a holiday as ‘pointless’ because they’d only end up working through it anyway.

      A third of respondents even admit to having F.O.A.L – a ‘fear of annual leave’.

      Chris Logan, Managing Director at Crystal Ski Holidays, which commissioned the research in conjunction with the launch of new short break ski holidays, said: “Not every employer is happy to sign off holiday requests.

      “And not all staff feel comfortable booking leave, fearing they won’t be able to switch off from work anyway.

      “The findings suggest more than three million office workers aren’t using all the leave they are entitled to, which means huge numbers of adults who are probably stressed, over-worked and over-tired by the end of the year.

      “Of those that do take leave, many like to use it for short breaks, which could take away some of the stressed incurred by longer holidays, and reduce the fear of annual leave.”

      Researchers for Crystal Ski Holidays hit the High Street to see how the general public view booking annual leave.

      The study found the average worker isn’t comfortable booking any more than eight days holiday in one go – with one fifth preferring to book four days or less.

      And one quarter of employers claim to feel happier using annual leave for shorter breaks.

      The majority of those polled do manage to enjoy their time off when they take it, but just under one in 20 can’t enjoy a holiday because of work stress.

      This is because they spend the whole time thinking about work (30 per cent), feeling guilty about being off (17 per cent) or check their emails anyway (18 per cent).

      A third are hesitant to request annual leave because they worry what their boss will think, and the same amount believe a holiday isn’t worth the stress of compiling a mega-handover.

      Another one in five dilly-dally over putting in a holiday form because their colleagues rarely take any and they don’t want to appear less hardworking.

      A quarter even believe taking their vacation entitlement would affect their chances of a promotion or pay rise – and 13 per cent ‘can’t afford’ to go on holiday as it is.

      According to the OnePoll research, a tenth of working adults have been hauled into the boss’s office for a telling off after taking a holiday.

      The same amount lost potential business, and more than a third came back to a huge mountain of work that had been left for them to deal with.

      Just over 40 per cent would even be happy to forego annual leave – and take extra pay instead.

      However, two thirds believe failing to take regular holidays can lead to burnout, and 47 per cent think there is more chance of employees falling ill if they don’t take time off.

      A further 62 per cent think the most important part of taking annual leave, however, is simply to spend more quality time with friends and family.


      1. I had too much work to do
      2. It wasn’t worth the hassle of coming back to a mountain of work
      3. I couldn’t afford to go on holiday
      4. I had no one I could hand my work to
      5. I worry too much about what will happen while I’m away
      6. It was pointless as I’d only have worked on my annual leave anyway
      7. I had no one to go away with / spend it with
      8. I didn’t think the boss would approve
      9. I love work and don’t desire time off
      10. I didn’t feel I could abandon my clients / customers

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      Stuart O'Brien

      All stories by: Stuart O'Brien