one in eight britons have skived off work to go on holiday

New research has found that 12 per cent of Britons have taken unscheduled time off work to go on holiday. The reasons for doing so were found to be running out of annual leave, too many people being off at the same time and it being too short notice to book off.

More than half of Britons have admitted to taking a day or more off work without permission, most commonly because of a hangover, because they overslept or because they want to go on a mini break or holiday. Diarrhoea and vomiting, the flu and family emergencies were the most common excuses given to do so, but 23 per cent were unfortunate enough to be found out.

The study polled 2,373 Britons over the age of 18*. All respondents disclosed that they were currently in full-time employment and had been on holiday at least once in the past two years. Initially it was found that more than half of Britons (54 per cent) have taken a day or more off work without permission from their employer. When asked what their reason for skiving off work was (and able to select more than one option), the top answers were found to be as follows:

  1. Because of a hangover – 41 per cent
  2. I overslept – 14 per cent
  3. To go on mini break/holiday – 12 per cent
  4. To attend a sports event – eight per cent
  5. To attend a music event/festival – five per cent


Focusing on those who had taken unscheduled time off work to go on a mini break or holiday, the top reasons for having to skive were found to be ‘I had no annual leave left’ (20 per cent), ‘there were too many people already booked off at the same time’ (16 per cent) and ‘it was too short notice to book off’ (14 per cent).

The average time taken off by those who missed work to go on holiday was found to be 4 days, and the most popular destinations were found to be Spain (11per cent), Ireland (nine per cent) and Cape Verde (six per cent).

When asked what excuse they had given their employer prior to going on a mini break or holiday, the most popular excuses were revealed as ‘sickness and diarrhoea’ (22 per cent), ‘the flu’ (17 per cent) and ‘a family emergency’ (16 per cent).

Of those that had taken unscheduled time off work for to go away, it was found that almost a quarter (23 per cent) had been found out by their bosses. The most common ways in which they were exposed were ‘by posting a picture on social media’ (30 per cent), ‘a colleague let it slip’ (20 per cent) and ‘I couldn’t provide a valid sick note’ (16 per cent). 35 per cent of those that were caught were fired, whilst a further 46 per cent faced some form of disciplinary action.

Commenting on the results of the study, a spokesperson for, said:

Everybody loves a holiday, and everyone should have the right to one, but you need to follow the correct procedures with your place of work. It can be frustrating when told you are not allowed to take annual leave, especially at short notice or because others have already booked the time off, but if you give yourself enough time and book early enough, you can avoid this disappointment and the consequences that follow.

*undertaken by the team at flight-comparison site,





Aphrodite is a creative writer and editor specialising in publishing and communications. She is passionate about undertaking projects in diverse sectors. She has written and edited copy for media as varied as social enterprise, art, fashion and education. She is at her most happy owning a project from its very conception, focusing on the client and project research in the first instance, and working closely with CEOs and Directors throughout the consultation process. Much of her work has focused on rebranding; messaging and tone of voice is one of her expertise, as is a distinctively unique writing style in my most of her creative projects. Her work is always driven by the versatility of language to galvanise image and to change perception, as it is by inspiring and being inspired by the wondrous diversity of people with whom paths she crosses cross!

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