How to make 18 days of annual leave stretch to 45 days off work in 2022

·4-min read
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

One of life’s great joys, even when you really like your job, is taking some time off work to relax and have fun during a period of annual leave.

Scheduling downtime, without tasks to complete and notifications to battle, is always important for mental health, but with the COVID pandemic creating an additional level of work-related stress for many, that need is even clearer now.

Recent research by Aviva found that two in five people “never switch off from work” and are concerned about work-related burnout. Half of those surveyed said the pandemic has blurred the boundary between work and home.

Despite this, not everyone takes their full annual leave entitlement. In fact, popular annual leave organisation website Timetastic says that on average, we only take 77% of our entitlement each year.

And it’s really not helping anyone, with a representative of the Federation of Small Businesses telling the BBC: “It is important for employees to take the time off they are entitled to. Everybody needs a break to relax and unwind… In the long run, it will be beneficial for the employee and the employer alike because it helps to reduce ill-health and absenteeism.”

So, let’s make sure you’re taking those valuable annual leave days in 2022. The best bit? You can really max them out by making some strategic decisions to stretch 18 days of leave to result in 45 days off work in staggered chunks of time. Here’s how…

Easter (10 days off using four annual leave days)

If your employer closes on weekends and bank holidays, you can use four days of annual leave after Easter Monday to bag 10 days off work, by booking off 19, 20, 21 and 22 April.

Here’s how:

  • Friday 15 April: Bank holiday

  • Saturday 16 April: Weekend

  • Sunday 17 April: Weekend

  • Monday 18 April: Bank holiday

  • Tuesday 19 April: Annual leave

  • Wednesday 20 April: Annual leave

  • Thursday 21 April: Annual leave

  • Friday 22 April: Annual leave

  • Saturday 23 April: Weekend

  • Sunday 24 April: Weekend

Early May (nine days off using four annual leave days)

Using four days of annual leave following the early May bank holiday on the second of the month, you can secure nine blissful work-free days.

Here’s how:

  • Saturday 30 April: Weekend

  • Sunday 1 May: Weekend

  • Monday 2 May: Bank Holiday

  • Tuesday 3 May: Annual leave

  • Wednesday 4 May: Annual leave

  • Thursday 5 May: Annual leave

  • Friday 6 May: Annual leave

  • Saturday 7 May: Weekend

  • Sunday 8 May: Weekend

Photo credit: Marko Geber - Getty Images
Photo credit: Marko Geber - Getty Images

Platinum Jubilee (seven days off using three annual leave days)

We really have to thank HRH Queen Elizabeth for this one, because in celebration of her spending 70 years as monarch, we’re being treated to a four-day bank holiday weekend. Using just three days of annual leave, you can have a whole week switched off from work.

Here’s how:

  • Monday 30 May: Annual leave

  • Tuesday 31 May: Annual leave

  • Wednesday 1 June: Annual leave

  • Thursday 2 June: Bank holiday

  • Friday 3 June: Bank holiday

  • Saturday 4 June: Weekend

  • Sunday 5 June: Weekend

August (nine days off using four annual leave days)

The late August bank holiday is always a fun one, and next year, if you book off four days of annual leave following on from bank holiday Monday, you’ll get a rather appealing nine consecutive days off.

Here’s how:

  • 27 August: Weekend

  • 28 August: Weekend

  • 29 August: Bank holiday

  • 30 August: Annual leave

  • 31 August: Annual leave

  • 1 September: Annual leave

  • 2 September: Annual leave

  • 3 September: Weekend

  • 4 September: Weekend

Photo credit: Malorny - Getty Images
Photo credit: Malorny - Getty Images

Christmas (10 days off using three annual leave days)

In 2022, Christmas Day falls on a Sunday, so we’ll have a substitute bank holiday the following Tuesday. Add into the mix the fact that New Year’s Day is on a Saturday et voila, all you need to do is book off 28, 29, and 30 December for a wonderful 10 days off.

  • Saturday 24 December: Weekend

  • Sunday 25 December: Christmas Day (weekend)

  • Monday 26 December: Bank holiday (Boxing Day)

  • Tuesday 27 December: Bank holiday

  • Wednesday 28 December: Annual leave

  • Thursday 29 December: Annual leave

  • Friday 30 December: Annual leave

  • Saturday 31 December: Weekend

  • Sunday 1 January: Weekend

  • Monday 2 January: Bank holiday

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