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‘Annual leave fear’: The Aussie workers too afraid to take time off

People walking in Sydney.
Thousands of Aussies are not taking annual leave or holidays, new research has found. (Source: Getty)

Thousands of Aussies are afraid to take annual leave or holidays, new research has found.

Tradie marketplace hipages found two in three tradies (64 per cent) were worried about taking holidays, because they were afraid of disrupting business or having jobs dry up.

One in four (26 per cent) of the 500 tradies surveyed said they didn’t take any annual leave last year, or only took one week off, while two in five (40 per cent) said they only took one break a day.

Organisational psychologist Dr Amantha Imber said it was easy to fall into the trap of not taking a break, but there were both health and business risks.

“Working yourself until you're physically and mentally burnt out can have a huge business impact including making costly mistakes on the job or taking longer to complete jobs,” Imber said.

Nearly a third of all Australian sectors are experiencing staff shortages, with construction managers, motor mechanics, metal fitter and machinists and electricians among the top 20 most in-demand workers.

More Aussies avoiding leave

It follows a broader trend amongst Aussies, with some labelling it ‘fear of taking annual leave’.

According to the ELMO Employee Sentiment Index, 75 per cent of Aussies are avoiding taking leave because of cost-of-living pressures and demanding workloads.

Almost a quarter of workers have accrued more than their yearly annual leave entitlement of 20 days, the survey of 1,000 workers found. The average amount accrued was 23.8 days.

Younger generations were more likely to take leave than avoid it, while older employees were more likely to have more annual leave days accrued.

CEO of ELMO Software, Danny Lessem, said businesses needed to understand why employees weren’t taking their leave.

“Is it due to unrealistic workloads, lack of resourcing, job insecurity, or because of the rising cost of living and economic uncertainty in Australia? Whatever the reason, it needs to be rapidly addressed by business leaders.”

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