'1 in 3' people with office jobs in the UK fail to use their annual holiday leave entitlement

One in three people with office jobs in the UK do not take their full allocation of annual leave, a new study has suggested.

A further 15% of office workers said they take all of their holiday entitlement only because their employer forces them to do so, according to the survey by Adecco.

Around one in four (27%) employees said they had not taken all of the holiday they are owed because they "feel guilty" about asking for time off.

Half of those people said leaving their colleagues in the lurch is the key reason for their sense of guilt.

This is perhaps explained by another finding in the poll, which is that one in three had experienced "added stress" as a result of their colleagues taking time away from work.

Almost half of employees said they would cancel holiday plans in order to fulfil commitments at work.

And the study revealed that a fifth of people say they have lied to their employer about why they are taking time off.

Alex Fleming, operations director at Adecco, believes the UK workforce has fallen into various bad habits with regard to taking annual leave.

"It is important to remember that annual leave is a legal entitlement and people should be encouraged to use it. It seems employees are reluctant to take their holiday leave and this could be for a range of reasons, including fears over job security and leaving their colleagues with increased stress," Fleming said.

The findings follow on from previous research by HR consultant Towers Watson, which suggested that workers risk "burn-out" if they fail to use their holiday entitlement to ease their stress levels.

Around one in four British workers (26%) in the company's Global Workforce Study said they have not been taking as much holiday or personal time off over the past three years.

The study indicates that employees are feeling the pressure to show their commitment to their jobs.

Last October the CIPD's 2012 Absence Management survey found that presenteeism - going to work despite being ill - had risen by a third among employees over the past year.

Stress retained its place as the number one reason for workers taking sick leave after it emerged as the main factor for the first time in 2011.

Copyright Press Association 2013