As an employee of an organization, we are usually entitled to an annual leave amounting to different number of days as regulated by the ministry labor. Each employees' annual leave is also usually dependent upon the industry, job grade seniority and serving tenure in the company.
The purpose of paid annual leave given to employees is pretty clear. Annual leave allows employees to take paid time off from work for the purpose of having regular breaks so that they can rest, re-energize and come back to work fresher. It is also know from research studies that employees who take regular short break holidays can be more motivated about their work and perform more effectively than those who do not. They are less prone to suffer from anxiety and stress because they get to relax their mind off any related work stuff and they will feel like they have life after all outside of work.
Although it seems like that's the general knowledge that everyone could understand, that's not exactly the case of what we are seeing in many organization. As an accountant having worked in several organizations myself, I am required to make leave accruals on a monthly basis for the general provision purpose. The trend that I am seeing is a lot of employees tend to have many outstanding leave balance that tends to increase for the first 8 months, then slowly trend down within the last 4 months heading into the end of the year. The Christmas holiday could be an excuse for such trend at times, but the overall impression I get from most is they tend to carry forward the leave balance to the next calendar year or forfeit them altogether.
I can relate to this as I experience the same dilemma myself.
I am entitled to the normal 24 days of paid leave a year. Perhaps, the nature of my role in the organization makes it such that it is very difficult to plan for long leave break, not to even mention the possibility of a sabbatical. With many companies suffering from the high manpower costs of labor crunch, it is also very difficult to have sufficient manpower to back up one another. As a result, the vicious cycle between giving the much needed break to employees and balancing the needs of the company comes into question.
This ties back to the recent posting I wrote about FI (link here) which sparks about different thoughts from different readers. I guess the point I am trying to bring across there is that FI gives you a call option to have more flexibility to choose about the things that you care most about. I have no qualms about people who likes to continue working. In fact, they can even choose to work 100 hours per week for all they like, but different people have different priorities in life. What is mine is definitely uniquely different from yours.
With that said, my difficulties in taking a long break of annual leave is definitely tied down due to the nature of my role, which I can't inherently do anything much about it.
What about your experience with utilizing annual leave from your workplace? Does it boils down to the culture of the company and/or roles?