Quarter of employees prepared to lie to take additional holiday leave

by Elizabeth Barnard12 Jul 2012

An employee may have thought they did an Oscar-worthy performance of being grief-stricken at losing a near-and-dear – after all, their best friend just died in freak rock-climbing accident.

But HR should be aware that up to 25% of these unfortunate deaths are pure fiction.

A new survey by UK flight comparison site Skyscanner revealed a whopping 25% of employees have lied in order to get their holiday leave approved. Thankfully not everyone dreams up tall tales to get a few extra days on the beach. Over a third of employees (39%) tee up their leave six months in advance to ensure they get the dates they wanted above their colleagues.

Yet, the very fact that such a high number of employees are so organised may be the very reason so many others resort to underhand tactics to also get their time off approved. “With many companies prohibiting staff from taking leave at the same time, people can go to surprising lengths to ensure they get their holiday leave when they want it. Our survey reveals that there are many of us who are willing to be quite ruthless in the battle with their colleagues for time off,” Sam Poullain from Skyscanner said.

Of the tactics employed:

  • 12% lied and told colleagues holiday time was already booked
  • 7% called into work sick
  • 4% pretended a family member was sick
  • 1% pretended it was for a honeymoon
  • 5% presented a random reason
  • 39% did it the old fashioned way – teed it up in advance

Other underhand tactics to secure particular leave dates included: “claiming I was snowed in”, “saying I had a funeral of a close friend” and “eating a handful of shampoo so I’d be sick in the office.”


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