The Australia Day long weekend may not have felt like much of a break, but for a growing number of full-time workers, two or three days out of office is more than enough time for a holiday.
According to new research by Expedia, when it comes to taking annual leave, Australian workers are taking less and less of it every year.
The study of 11,144 respondents revealed that workers are opting for a weekend away instead of taking several weeks off, with one in six Aussies failing to take a single day of leave in 2018.
And while we typically love to travel abroad, Australia has become the third worst in the world for taking annual leave – putting us behind Japan and Italy.
The survey of working Australians looked at our annual leave habits and motivations and exposed us as a nation of workaholics.
According to their annual report of 11,144 respondents, entitled "Vacation Deprivation", the average Aussie only takes 14 of their 20 days of annual leave each year, with six days failed to be used. It means a downward trend over the past 10 years – in 2009 Aussies only left 3.5 days unused.
While some of the employees do not take leave, they are afraid that the person who fills in for them might find poor performance or problems that the employee has been hiding, Expedia said his research pointed out that money was the biggest factor for not taking leave.
"In our" always on "world, holidays and taking a time-out from work are important, especially given almost half of the working Aussies say they feel vacation-deprived and in need of a break," Expedia travel expert Lisa Perkovic said.
"Affordability is a key concern, although taking a break does not have to break the bank. We encourage Aussies to be savvy with their approach to holidays to be able to take a break more often – and this does not just mean international. "
According to Roy Morgan Research, Australians have collectively 133,737,000 days' worth of accrued annual leave – that's an average of 16 days per full-time working Australian.
Amazingly, 3 per cent of workers have more than 10 weeks or more of annual leave locked away and 17 per cent do not know how the current balance of their annual leave, according to the 2017 research.
Last year, Japanese workers ranked the lowest in using paid leave days and had the highest ratio of those who felt guilty doing so.
According to an annual survey of workers from around the world, Japanese workers only spent 50 per cent of their days owed, placing them at the bottom of the list for the second consecutive year.
It also showed that 63 percent of Japanese workers felt guilty for taking paid leave, ranking first among the 15,081 respondents aged 18 and older.
The research also showed that the Japanese had a difficult time switching off – 22 percent checked their work email during holidays, the highest among the nations surveyed.
In research conducted by booking.com in 2018, which also looked at annual leave trends, research showed South Australians are the country's workaholics, where only 19 percent use all of their annual leave and over a third go without for seven to 12 months .
Queenslanders came in second, while full-time workers in Western Australia came in third for people who did not take leave for the longest period.
The states most likely to take a well-earned break are NSW and Victoria with the highest number of respondents always using their annual leave.
According to finder.com.au, the 2018 survey revealed a strong need for Aussie workers to take a break for their health with three in 10 workers admitting to leaving work early due to exhaustion. On top of that, an equivalent of nearly 1 million workers said they had fallen asleep at work.
But industry experts have warned that 2019 may be the year that Australians take a little more leave, thanks to the number of public holidays that fall close together.
The first of 2019's long weekends fell last week with the Australia Day public holiday, but the Easter and Anzac Day is the best time to save.
Since Good Friday is on April 19 this year, there are only four business days between Easter and the Anzac Day, which means a 10-day break with only three days of annual leave to be used.
"Taking regular leave reduces stress, improves productivity and overall wellbeing," Joanna Fishman, director of Associated EAP, a corporate psychology services provider, told Skyscanner.
"Taking leave is also associated with greater life satisfaction, especially because time off often provides us with the opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends, experience new things or new ways of being.
"We find that many of our clients feel intense pressure not to take leave as they feel completely responsible for their workload. This is a well-known cognitive error and staff are often surprised to learn that everything went fine during their absence. "