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Making hay while the sun shines

More than three-quarters of workers say there are limits to how much holiday time they can take off in one go.
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Almost eight out of 10 employees have restrictions placed on the amount of time they can take off for holidays at any one time, according to a survey.

The survey, by online careers Web site, found that 78 percent of the 757 people questioned said their holidays were limited. But 38 percent said personal circumstances were considered when they asked for an extended break.

Circumstances that were taken into consideration included weddings and long-distance trips abroad for sabbaticals or to visit relatives.

Two weeks' holiday at a time was the limit for 36 percent of those surveyed, while a week was the maximum for 4 percent.

Almost one in five -- 19 percent -- said there were no limits on the holidays they were allowed to take. managing director Joe Slavin says that although some businesses find it difficult to allow extended breaks, the benefits of listening to workers often pays off in the long-term.

"The culture of working long hours in the UK business environment means that a holiday allowance has become increasingly relevant to ensure employee satisfaction, health and productivity," Slavin says.

"At the end of the day, retention of the workforce -- the most valuable asset of a company -- is important, and good holiday management helps achieve this."

When it comes to total annual holiday allowances, British workers may not be as bad off as they think. asked 1,761 people how many holidays they were given a year.

The survey found that 31 percent -- almost a third of those questioned -- had a holiday entitlement of 26 days or more, and 43 percent had between 21 and 35 days a year.

According to Department of Trade and Industry requirements, British employers must give their employees four weeks of paid annual leave -- the equivalent of 20 days based on a five-day working week -- plus public holidays.

One in five of those surveyed -- 20 percent -- had an annual holiday entitlement below the legal requirements, with 16 percent saying they are given 16 to 20 days a year and 4 percent given just 10 days or fewer each year.

A similar poll a year ago found that three-quarters -- 75 percent -- of British people took 21 days or more holiday each year, compared with 21 percent of Canadians and 13 percent of Americans.

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