Weary worker

Over 57 million days of annual leave went unclaimed last year, with workers expecting 2021 to be the same or worse

A study of 2,000 employed Brits found one in three failed to claim their full leave for the working year, with the average losing out on seven days’ break in total.

Across the estimated 24.7 million full-time working adults, this means 8,151,000 lost a collective 57,057,000 days in all.

And one third say 2021 is already going the same way, with 28 per cent fully prepared to ditch their holidays altogether in favour of extra pay.

The research, commissioned by adult-only hotel chain Warner Leisure Hotels, found the top reasons Brits don’t take all their allocated holiday time include work piling up when they’re away (20 per cent), being too busy in general (15 per cent) and worrying about what will happen when they’re away (13 per cent).

In 2020, 48 per cent considered it to be ‘pointless’ to take annual leave as Covid restrictions meant they couldn’t go abroad anyway.

Simon Thompson, managing director of Warner Leisure Hotels said: “We were really concerned to discover so many Brits aren’t making time for themselves this year – our results indicate people are more stressed and in need of this than ever before.

“Even a short break can help us to pause, reset and reconnect with loved ones – and a holiday doesn’t have to be abroad to be restful. Britain is such a beautiful place to explore, and our guests are always surprising themselves with how little of the island they’ve actually seen.

“Warner hotels offer the perfect place to unwind – so after finding that one in three Brits didn’t take their full annual leave allowance last year, we’re looking for someone with weeks of unclaimed holiday to give them some much needed breaks throughout the year. We reckon we can get even the most stressed-out Brit to relax!”

Four in 10 Brits say their company doesn’t allow them to ‘roll over’ holiday days, meaning if they don’t get used, they’re lost forever.

More than a quarter (26 per cent) confess to a ‘fear of annual leave’, which stops them from taking days off, and one in three have taken annual leave they didn’t enjoy.

Thirty-five per cent have a manager who will jokingly claim they’re going to deny a leave request – which makes 47 per cent feel more hesitant about asking for it.

Even when Brits pluck up the courage to take some time away from work, 31 per cent have returned to a mountain of work, according to the OnePoll figures.

Another 11 per cent missed out on a key work event, while more than one in 20 actually think they missed out on a pay rise or promotion as a result.

Just under one in three (28 per cent) of respondents would even give up half of their allocated annual leave, in lieu of extra pay.

Despite frequently dreading taking leave – or in many cases, not taking it at all – a huge 90 per cent believe it is ‘important’ for employees to take holidays from work.

Seven in 10 believe not doing so can lead to burnout, half think it leads to more productive work overall, and 44 per cent think not taking time off actually affects physical health.

After a challenging period of lockdowns, 68 per cent believe they need a holiday now more than ever before, according to the OnePoll figures.

Simon Thompson added: “With annual leave being so essential to a good work/life balance, we’re hoping these shocking figures will help some hard-working Brits recognise that taking time off is not a luxury, but an essential.

If you, or someone you know, is racking up weeks of annual leave this year with no plan to take it any time soon, nominate yourself or them to become the hotel chain’s first Chief Relaxation Officer and enjoy free breaks throughout the year.


  1. My work will pile up when I’m away
  2. I’m too busy
  3. Worrying what will happen at work while I’m away
  4. I can’t afford a holiday
  5. I don’t think I’d be able to get the time off when I’d want it
  6. I don’t trust my workmates to do things properly in my absence
  7. Fears over job security
  8. Smaller team now due to Covid
  9. If none of your colleagues were taking leave
  10. I have had negative comments in the past from colleagues or managers

Notes to Editors

Contact Information 

For any more information or imagery please email warnerpressoffice@bourne-leisure.co.uk and warner@wpragency.co.uk

About Warner Leisure Hotels

Warner Leisure Hotels, renowned for short breaks 'exclusively for adults' are set in some of the UK's finest historic countryside and coastal locations. From the picturesque Yorkshire Dales to the glistening Solent shores of the Isle of Wight; each hotel offers fine dining, lovely rooms, live entertainment, and plenty of areas to just relax and soak up the scenery. Guests can even try their hand at a new 'experience', or simply sit back, unwind.