Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

Kiwis deprive themselves of holidays - study

When it comes to how to make the most of annual leave, the global trend, reflected in New Zealand, is to use annual leave throughout the year versus taking one long break. Photo / iStock
When it comes to how to make the most of annual leave, the global trend, reflected in New Zealand, is to use annual leave throughout the year versus taking one long break. Photo / iStock

New Zealand workers are among the most holiday deprived in the world, according to a global study.

The research for online booking firm Expedia finds Kiwis on average have 20 days of annual leave but last year only took 15 of them.

Europeans are the world's least-deprived holidaymakers: workers in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Denmark and Finland are all offered 30 days off, on average. The Germans, French, Spanish and Finnish use nearly all of those days, while the Danish take 28, Italians take 25 and Swedes take 25.

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South Koreans are the world's most vacation deprived workers - while they're offered 15, they take only six days off within a given year. Japanese have 20 days available to them, but they take 12, while in North America, American workers leave four full days of vacation on the table each year, with 15 available and 11 taken.

Excluding public holidays, around the world workers take about 20 days of leave, leaving 20 per cent unused.

Expedia.co.nz travel expert Kelly Cull said while New Zealanders were aware of the importance of taking holidays, ''they are a guilty pleasure'' rather than something that is needed so they can recharge and be more productive in their jobs.

''A healthy work-life balance is critical, and travel doesn't have to be expensive. Two thirds of New Zealand workers say their bosses are supportive of them taking leave so 2016 should be the year where New Zealanders say yes to getting out there and enjoying their lives outside the office."

Two thirds of New Zealand workers say their bosses are supportive of them taking leave so 2016 should be the year where New Zealanders say yes to getting out there and enjoying their lives outside the office.

Not all unused annual leave days are lost; 26 per cent of New Zealand workers report a desire to "bank" annual leave to use the following year, well above the global average of 19 per cent.

A quarter (27 per cent) of Kiwi workers cite financial concerns as a barrier and a further 23 per cent say their work schedules don't permit taking more annual leave than they do.

Nine in ten of New Zealand's workers "somewhat or strongly agree" they feel happier after a holiday.


More sleep (average 7.7hrs on holiday versus 6.9 hours at home), feeling less stressed (87 per cent) and being more focused at work (80 per cent) were other perceived positive results from having a holiday.

When it comes to how to make the most of annual leave, the global trend, reflected in New Zealand, is to use annual leave throughout the year versus taking one long break.

Half of Kiwi workers (50 per cent) take several short holidays and long weekends, versus 26 per cent who take one long break.

Expedia's Vacation Deprivation study was done last October and surveyed 9273 employed adults across 26 countries in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and South America.

- NZ Herald

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