Londoners skip annual leave as they wait for certainty over holidays

·2-min read
A beach in Portugal (PA Archive)
A beach in Portugal (PA Archive)

More than a third of Londoners have yet to take a single day of annual leave this year as employees wait for certainty over holiday restrictions.

An exclusive poll for the Standard found that 36 per cent of people have not taken any annual leave so far in 2021 while one in five (20 per cent) skipped at least 10 days of holiday last year.

The main reason given for delaying taking leave is the coronavirus pandemic, with 28 per cent saying they have been waiting for UK holiday restrictions to lift before booking any time off.

As a nation we have deferred a staggering 124 million days of annual leave due to Covid, rail industry research revealed.

While some businesses have insisted their staff take all of their annual leave, or at least a percentage of it, others have allowed workers to carry it over into a new holiday year.

Some 61 per cent of Londoners who have worked longer hours during the pandemic say they are now suffering from burnout.

Psychiatrist Dr Sarah Vohra said: “Even with restrictions easing there's still an element of wanting to hold holiday back for something better later, but regular breaks, even short ones, in a new environment, help reduce stress and boost our mood and energy levels.”

The survey was carried out as part of the rail industry’s ‘Life is Back on Track’ campaign to encourage workers to take a day off to explore Britain by rail.

Broadcaster Ben Fogle, who backed the campaign, said: “Travelling by train is a great way to visit some completely new and wonderful locations away from your day-to-day routine, which is really important for your mental health.

“It’s also a stress-free way to travel, meaning you can plan your itinerary for your next adventure, or catch-up on some much-needed rest before you get there.”

With more than two-thirds of Brits double-jabbed, many will begin tentatively planning holidays at home and abroad over the coming weeks and months.

It comes as getaway destinations Spain and Greece moved to tighten Covid restrictions after experiencing an increase in Delta variant infections.

Both countries are among those expected to see an influx of British sun-seekers this summer but have been forced to reimpose coronavirus rules to tackle the spike in cases.

Spain and Greece are on the UK’s amber list with quarantine-free travel coming into force for double-jabbed holidaymakers on July 19.

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