Irish workers get six fewer days of annual leave than their European counterparts, despite managing to get an extra day on average last year, a survey has revealed.
The survey of 25 countries commissioned by travel company Expedia shows that Irish workers have an average of 22 days off per year, compared to the European average of 28 days and an overall average of 25 days.
In 2012 and 2013, Irish workers had an average of 21 holiday days per year.
Despite the fact that almost half of Irish respondents (48pc) said they feel 'holiday deprived', almost 8pc of workers were not taking up their full holiday quota - with some 3.3 million days not taken.
In contrast, respondents from Denmark, France, Germany and Spain said they took every day available.
Irish respondents were most likely (27pc) to cite a lack of money as the main reason for not taking a day off, with the second most popular reason (17pc) being 'work schedule does not allow'.
Almost one sixth of Irish respondents blamed being self-employed for not taking days off.
Financial difficulties are more of an issue for Irish people than their international counterparts. An average of 14pc of Europeans cited a lack of money as a reason for not taking days off, compared to an average of 17pc overall.
The survey shows that the majority of Irish people prefer to take several short breaks. Less than a quarter (23pc) took one long holiday.
"While habits differ, the emotional impact of holidays do not," Expedia UK and Ireland managing director Andy Washington said. "Somewhere between 80pc and 90pc of people worldwide say that holidays make them feel happier, better rested, closer to their family, less stressed, and more relaxed. These are all emotions that correlate to a productive employee.
"So it's almost paradoxical: spend more time away from work, and you might just be a better performing employee," Mr Washington said.
Paul Henry from Siptu's legal rights unit said his union "would always be addressing the issue of holidays and extra holidays and we would do it through collective agreements where we would look to have [workers'] holidays increased."
But Mr Henry said pay increases are more important than holidays for Siptu members at the moment.
The survey shows that workers in some of the countries that attract Irish emigrants have even fewer days of annual leave than workers here.
In the US, workers get an average of 15 days and take 14, while in Australia workers get 20 days on average and take 15.