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Australians have nearly 175 million days of annual leave due – up over 23 million days from early 2020

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2005 – March 2021. Average annual interviews for each 12 months period, n=8,035. Base: Australians 14+ in paid employment who are entitled to annual leave.

New data from Roy Morgan shows over 8 million Australians in paid employment now have 174.9 million days of annual leave due – up from 151.2 million days a year ago prior to the COVID-19 pandemic – but the distribution of the annual leave due has changed during the last year.

The accrued annual leave of nearly 175 million days is a record high total of accrued annual leave and represents an increase of 23.7 million (+15.7%) on the 151.2 million days of accrued annual leave Australians had available prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Total annual leave accrued owed to Australia’s paid workers (2006-2021)

Total Annual Leave accrued to Australia's paid workers (2005-2021)

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2005 – March 2021. Average annual interviews for each 12 months period, n=8,035.
Base: Australians 14+ in paid employment who are entitled to annual leave.

Now over 6.69 million Australians (52.2% of paid workers) have at least 2 weeks of annual leave due, up from 6.14 million prior to the pandemic, while fewer than 1.38 million (10.8%) have less than 2 weeks due compared to over 1.54 million (12.6%) pre-pandemic.

There have been slight increases in annual leave due tor periods greater than 2 weeks compared to a year ago. Now over 1.63 million Australians (12.8% of paid workers) have 2-3 weeks of annual leave due – the most common time period of annual leave due, up from 1.45 million (11.9%)

In addition, there are now 1.37 million Australians (10.7% of paid workers) who have at least 7 weeks of annual leave due, up from 1.26 million a year ago (10.3%).

A large cohort of 4.74 million Australians (37.0% of paid workers) have no annual leave due, up slightly from the 4.60 million (37.4%) without any annual leave due pre-pandemic. The higher level of employment now compared to pre-pandemic means although there are now more paid workers with no annual leave entitlements this constitutes a smaller share of the overall number of employed Australians.

For more detail see Roy Morgan’s employment estimates on the latest trends in Australia’s employment markets: ‘Australian employment hits a record high in April 2021’.

Annual leave owed to Australia’s paid workers by length of time (2021 vs. 2020)

Annual Leave owed to Australia's paid workers by length of time (2021 vs. 2020)

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2019 – March 2021, average annual interviews n=16,053. Base: Australians 14+ in paid employment. *Annual leave owed is calculated based on (working) days owed. Less than 2 weeks: 1-9 days; 2 weeks – under 3 weeks: 10-14 days; 3 weeks – under 4 weeks: 15-19 days; 4 weeks – under 5 weeks: 20-24 days; 5 weeks – under 7 weeks: 25-34 days; 7+ weeks: 35+ days.

These results are from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey, derived from comprehensive in-depth interviews with over 1,000 Australians each week and around 50,000 Australians per year.


The closure of the international borders due to COVID-19 has curtailed the travel plans of many Australians but an increasing number have significant amounts of annual leave available to use says Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine:

“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.

“The reliance on domestic tourists to power the industry over the next year means understanding the amount of annual leave Australians have due is now more important than ever. The latest Roy Morgan figures show over 6.69 million Australians have at least two weeks annual leave, up from 6.14 million prior to the pandemic – a significant increase.

“There have been increases in the number of Australians with annual leave due for all time periods longer than two weeks – and over 1.37 million Australians now have at least 7 weeks of annual leave due – up from 1.26 million a year ago.

“The growth in the amount of annual leave due is evident when looking at the total amount of annual leave days due – now at a record high of nearly 175 million days – up 23.6 million days (+15.7%) from a year ago pre-pandemic.

“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 fact Australia’s international borders are set to remain closed for another year presents a real opportunity for domestic travel agencies to appeal to the 6.69 million Australians with at least two weeks annual leave due to seriously consider taking a longer holiday in Australia – there will likely never be a better chance to see Australia than over the next 12 months.

“The latest Roy Morgan Holiday Travel Intention Leading Indicator Report shows it is Queensland (24.9% of Australians intending to take a holiday of at least 3+ nights) and NSW (22.7%) that are the top destinations for Australians planning on taking a longer holiday.”


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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

1,000

±3.0

±2.7

±1.9

±1.3

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2