Annual leave accrued reaching huge numbers thanks to COVID

While people have been able to travel domestically for some time now, and the travel bubble with New Zealand has also started to see some movement, it has barely made a ripple in the amount of annual leave that people have accrued since the pandemic began.

New data from Roy Morgan research shows over eight million Australians in paid employment now have 174.9 million days of annual leave due, which was up from 151.2 million days before the pandemic struck and international borders were closed.

The accrued annual leave of nearly 175 million days is a record high, jumping 15.7 per cent since before the pandemic.

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Over 6.69 million Australians (52.2 per cent of paid workers) have at least two weeks of annual leave due, up from 6.14 million prior to the pandemic, while fewer than 1.38 million (10.8 per cent) have less than two weeks due compared to over 1.54 million (12.6 per cent) pre-pandemic.

There have been slight increases in annual leave due for periods greater than two weeks compared to a year ago.

Now over 1.63 million Australians (12.8 per cent of paid workers) have between two and three weeks of annual leave due – the most common time period of annual leave due, up from 1.45 million (11.9 per cent).

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In addition, there are now 1.37 million Australians (10.7 per cent of paid workers) who have at least seven weeks of annual leave due, up from 1.26 million a year ago (10.3 per cent).

Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine said that Australians should seriously consider taking a longer holiday somewhere in Australia to make the best use of their annual leave.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the Australian economy and continues to heavily impact the local travel and tourism industry with international borders set to remain closed for another year, according to the recent Federal Budget,” Ms Levine said.

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“The increasing numbers of Australians with long periods of annual leave due is likely directly related to the closure of international borders.

“Traditionally, Australians are more likely to take shorter domestic holidays whereas overseas travel can last for many weeks, or even months.”

The latest Roy Morgan research Travel Intention Report shows that Queensland and NSW are the top destinations for Australians planning on a taking a longer holiday.

How many annual leave days do you have accrued with your employer? What is the longest holiday you have ever taken from work?

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Written by Ben