Staff work £14.3 million holidays

British employees fail to use 14.3 million days’ holiday each year, effectively providing companies with £1.2 billion worth of free labour, research carried out for the online travel firm Expedia suggests.

The survey of 2,000 adults found that one in eight only rarely take a holiday from work, while one in ten regularly work 50-hour weeks. One in three of those questioned blamed the failure to take a full holiday entitlement on a long hours culture and people being afraid to ask for the time off.

"With a £1.2 billion payout lining our employers' pockets, there's a long way to go before we take all the holiday we're entitled to,” said Expedia’s marketing director Elyas Chowdhury.

The poll also suggests that one in four workers pull sickies when they cannot face going into work.