If you’re finishing up work for 2017 and heading away on three weeks’ leave, you can be certain of one thing: you are not alone.

A new survey by Australia’s largest comparison website Finder.com.au recently revealed a staggering 5.3 million Australians are being forced to take annual leave over the Christmas and New Year period.

Finder’s new representative study of Australian workers also found that full-time workers are being hit the hardest with forced annual leave, with more than half (53 percent) having some leave requirement over December/January. This is much higher than part-time workers (32 percent). It seems New South Wales is the state with the highest proportion of office closure and forced leave requirements, as 48 percent of the state’s workers hang up the bag and boots starting next week.

Further to this, 44 percent of Australians, almost one in two, will be using their leave this holiday season in some way, either forced or voluntarily. On average, workers will be taking 8.3 days off work, with women taking more time off (8.8 days) than men (7.7 days).

Holiday Drinks
Whether you love or hate forced summer leave, Finder’s new data shows it is here to stay.

While the study results do not directly break the data down by sector, it’s not hard to guess which industries will continue at full steam through to January. At a glance I’ll bet those relaxing on the beach December 28 are more likely to be working in financial services, marketing, administration and certain trades, while for healthcare professionals, logistics workers, cafe operators and retail staff, it will be business-as-usual with the exception of public holidays.

But is it a good thing to be forced on annual leave over summer?

Here’s my opinion. I will be taking six days’ leave this summer due to office closure. I had no choice in the matter, it’s true. But I can’t wait. I am as excited about this time away as any other block of annual leave. Sure, we can expect larger crowds at the beach and more cars on the roads. But let’s be honest, summer is the best time to take a break, and if I wasn’t forced to take time off over summer, I’d apply for it anyway. Who could turn down some warm weather time-out to read, catch up on TV, enjoy a cocktail, sit in a favourite cafe, or make family memories?

In the next article, we’ll be looking at how three Aussie professionals are spending their summer annual leave.

What are your thoughts on taking forced annual leave over the Christmas and New Year period? Share in the comments below.

Data is from Finder, Australia’s largest comparison website.