Earlier today (25 July), travel agency Brand Expedia released the findings from its 2018 Vacation Deprivation® Study, which shows that vacation deprivation is on the rise among full-time workers in Singapore and across the globe.
Nearly nine in 10 (88%) of Singaporean employees felt that they deserve more annual leave in 2018, with nearly eight in 10 (77%) willing to take a pay cut to get an extra day off.
What’s more, over six in 10 Singaporeans (63%) said that they are deprived of vacations last year. This is up from 57% in 2017 and 41% in 2016; hence, bumping Singapore up by one spot to become the sixth most vacation-deprived market in the world.
On a global scale, 58% of full-time workers said that they are deprived of vacations in 2018, up from 53% in 2017 and 49% in 2016.
This study was conducted with 11,000 full-time working adults across 19 markets, including 300 respondents in Singapore.

Singapore Ranked the Sixth Most Vacation-Deprived Market in the World
In the midst of growing vacation deprivation sentiments all across the globe, Asia Pacific stood out as the most vacation-deprived region in the world. Seven in 10 of the most vacation-deprived markets came from Asia Pacific – led by India, South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, respectively.
Markets such as India (15%) and Thailand (14%) also registered the biggest jumps in vacation deprivation sentiments this year. This was followed by the United States, which registered the third largest increase of 9%, while Singapore came in fourth with an increase of 6% in vacation deprivation sentiments over 2017.
Additionally, the study unveiled that younger workers aged between 18 to 34 exhibited higher levels of vacation deprivation sentiments compared to older workers.
About 67% of Singaporean workers aged 18 to 34 said that they are deprived of vacations, followed by 65% of workers aged 35 to 49, and 52% of workers aged 50 and above who shared similar sentiments.

Singaporeans Remain Connected to Work Even During Vacations
Besides that, the study deduced that half of Singaporean employees did not use up their annual leave. When asked about the reasons for not taking the time off, being unable to get time off work emerged as the top reason for doing so among 39% of Singaporeans – the highest in the world.
Other justifications included the desire to save up time for a long holiday (30%) and being unable to afford a holiday (22%).
Even when Singaporean employee go on holidays, more than half (53%) admitted that they tend to stay connected to work during their vacation time, with 79% checking emails or voicemail at least once.
What’s more, 30% felt that they are expected to be constantly available by their supervisors – the third highest percentage globally after India and Malaysia.
Taking Mental-Health Days a Growing Trend in Singapore and Asia Pacific
With regards to the growing trend of mental-health days, the study indicated that Singaporeans are placing greater importance on their mental health, with 70% having taken at least one mental health day in the past year to relieve stress and focus on their mental well-being.
On average, Singaporeans took 3 mental health days last year and an additional 2.8 days on average for life administration.
“In a dynamic, fast-paced society like Singapore, it came as no surprise that workers want more annual leave to go on vacations. Taking regular, quality vacations is known to provide numerous positive benefits to the personal and professional well-being of workers across the globe,” said Lavinia Rajaram, Head of Communications for Asia Pacific at Brand Expedia.
“As vacation deprivation continues to rise in Singapore, it is now more important than ever for business leaders to identify the reasons behind these sentiments in order to foster an enabling culture for employees to take quality time off and make the most of their vacation time, for the good of their personal and professional well-being in the long run,” she added.

Image via Yuganov Konstantin/Shutterstock
Editor’s note:
Human beings aren’t robots. We do not fare well if working 24/7 is a norm. A proper work-life balance is something we yearn for; which is why we love holidays. We’ll seize every chance we get to go on vacation to relax and unwind.
Hence, taking into account the findings from the aforementioned survey, it is no surprise that a great majority of Singaporeans have concerns or rather unhappy regarding their employment leaves. In fact, did you know that Singapore is one of the countries in Southeast Asia that has the least number of public holidays?
In an article published by Mashable Southeast Asia which ranked Southeast Asian countries based on the number of public holidays each has for 2019, Singapore falls amongst the third lowest from the 10 countries listed.
Singapore registered only 14 public holidays, surpassing Laos (13 days) by a day margin, and Vietnam (11 days) by three days.
Meanwhile, Malaysia topped the list with 50 public holidays, followed by Cambodia with 31 days, and Thailand with 26 days.

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