Want more time off work? Here’s how to double your leave days

Canny calendar use can get you 32 days off at Christmas and Easter, plus 27 more in 2020

Home for the holidays: Christmas Day falls on a Wednesday, one of the best days for the canny leave-taker, this year. Photograph: iStock/Getty

Home for the holidays: Christmas Day falls on a Wednesday, one of the best days for the canny leave-taker, this year. Photograph: iStock/Getty

 

How would you like to have more than two weeks off over Christmas while using up just five days of annual leave? In fact, how would you like to turn a fairly standard 25 days of holiday entitlements into almost nine weeks of time off? You’ll have to act fast, though, to secure your slots on the company vacation calendar before anybody else does.

First up is Christmas. This year Christmas Day falls on a Wednesday, one of the best days for the canny leave-taker. Unless you work for a critical public service, for an always-on media organisation (sigh) or for Ebenezer Scrooge, there is a very good chance you will automatically get Christmas Eve off next month.

December 26th is a public holiday, and although December 27th is not, it is a day when all banks and most offices and other businesses traditionally remain closed.

Monday, December 30th, and Tuesday, December 31st, are normal working days, as are Thursday, January 2nd, and Friday, January 3rd. But if you take those four days plus Monday, December 23rd, as annual leave, you will get a 16-day stretch off work in return for just five of your holiday days.

Smart use of bank holidays is the key to the rest of the year, too, especially at Easter. Easter Sunday falls on April 12th next year. Good Friday – not a public holiday but a day that banks close for and that many other companies give staff the day off for – and Easter Monday will give many people a four-day weekend. The clever folk who take four days’ leave ahead of the former and four days’ leave after the latter will get another 16-day stretch away from work while only using eight days of annual leave.

So that’s 32 days without work over Christmas and Easter while using just 13 days of your holiday entitlement.

Then there are the May, June and August bank holidays, which in 2020 fall on Monday, May 4th, Monday, June 1st, and Monday, August 3rd. Taking four days’ leave in each of these weeks will deliver three blocks of nine days off – a total of 27 work-free days at a cost of just 12 days of leave.

These five blocks add up to 59 days off work, or more than double the annual leave you’ll need to use to take them.

Not everyone can take time off at the same time, of course; otherwise nobody would be working anywhere for the weeks in question, and it would be like Italia ’90 (if you’re old enough to remember that) all over again. So you’ll need to get in ahead of the posse and secure these days off before your colleagues do.

Manage that, however, and you’ll be the superchilled, supersmug one in your office this time next year. You can thank us then.

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