04:19pm Tuesday 22 October 2019

No leave, no life – holidays matter for Aussie workers

Many workers say their job is too demanding to take a holiday The University of South Australia report shows that while some of these workers are saving their leave to take a holiday at another time, many others say their job is just too demanding to think about taking time off.
Written by UniSA’s Centre for Work + Life researchers Professor Barbara Pocock, Dr Natalie Skinner and Sandra Pisaniello, the report has found that work pressures stand in the way of holidays for almost a third of people who stockpile their leave.
“Thirty per cent of employees surveyed said they were too busy at work to take all their leave. This especially affects those working long hours, professionals and those employed on limited term contracts,” Prof Pocock says.
AWALI 2010 asked full-time permanent and fixed-term employees working 35 or more hours per week about their patterns of annual leave taking.
Dr Natalie Skinner says the results confirm the wisdom of Tourism Australia’s ‘No Leave, No Life’ campaign to encourage Australians to stop stockpiling their annual leave and take a holiday.
“We found not taking leave has significant effects: those who do not take leave have much worse work-life interference,” said Dr Skinner.
“The effects are greater for women than men, and mothers are particularly affected when they do not take leave. In fact, we found mothers of children aged under 18 who do not take leave have a worse work-life balance score than people who work more than 48 hours per week.
“We also found both fathers and mothers have much worse work-life interference when they do not take all their leave, compared to people without children aged under 18 who don’t take leave.
“The take home message here to Australian workers is that taking leave can help reduce work-life interference, and it is especially important that women and parents use their leave. There is also a message for employers: manage workloads so that workers can take their leave.”
Despite the finding that six in 10 workers are stockpiling their leave, AWALI 2010 found most workers would rather have an extra two weeks’ leave than an equivalent pay rise, given the choice.
“It seems time matters more than money for many people,” Dr Skinner says.
Most permanent full-time employees in Australia are entitled to 20 days paid annual leave. Prof Pocock says compared to other OECD countries, Australia’s leave provisions are not generous: they are average. France provides 30 paid days and Finland, Norway and Sweden provide 25 paid days.
Prof Pocock says the AWALI 2010 findings suggest efforts to encourage workers to take their leave, especially by relieving work pressures, will improve work-life outcomes.
She says there needs to be particular attention to giving workers more access to more paid leave.

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