Roy Morgan Research
December 10, 2019

Australian workers have 146 million days of annual leave just waiting to be used

Topic: Press Release
Finding No: 8221

The summer holidays are fast approaching and according to the latest figures from Roy Morgan Australians in paid employment have over 146 million days’ worth of annual leave accrued in total, up 11 million days (+8.3%) on a year ago.

The accrued annual leave equates to an average of just over 16 days for each paid worker in Australia. 

Only 10% of Australia’s paid workers have no annual leave owed to them, while a further 13% have up to 2 weeks accrued. Nearly a quarter of paid workers (23%) have between two and four weeks of annual leave accrued and another tenth have around a month owed to them. More than a fifth of paid workers (21%), have at least five weeks’ worth as yet unused.

These results are from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey, derived from in-depth face-to-face interviews with around 50,000 Australians each year in their homes.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says that despite Australians having accrued the largest total amount of annual leave for a number of years, few people are planning on using it: “Accrued annual leave in Australia is the highest since 2015, however the recently released Roy Morgan Holiday Intention Report shows that fewer people are planning on taking holidays than a year ago. Now 13.7 million Australians (66.2%) intend to take a holiday in the next year, compared to 13.8 million (67.8%) a year ago. The decline is being driven by fewer Australians planning on a domestic holiday, which is now at a two-decade low.

This huge pool of available annual leave represents a tremendous opportunity for travel and tourism businesses looking to reignite interest in domestic holidays, especially since they have become more price- competitive in recent years with the decline in value of the Aussie dollar.” 

Annual leave owed to Australia’s paid workers by length of time

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), Oct. 2018-Sep 2019, n=4,378. Base: Australians 14+ in paid employment who are entitled to annual leave. *Annual leave owed is calculated based on (working) days owed. Less than 1 week: 1-4 days, 1 week – under 2 weeks: 5-9 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: 25+ days.

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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

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