More than 50 percent of employees will feel compelled to check their work emails, despite being on annual leave over the festive period.  

The research, which comes from consumer legal services company, Slater & Gordon, spoke to more than 1,000 workers.

61 percent of respondents said their employer regularly contacts them outside of working hours; this could affect around 18 million people over the Christmas break.  

Head of practice for employment law at Slater and Gordon Jo Mackie said employees needed time away from emails to avoid burnout: “The law that sets the UK annual leave entitlement is the Working Time Regulations 1998. Put simply, all full-time employed people are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday per year.”

She adds: “Annual leave is crucial to businesses as it ensures staff have the opportunity to take time away from work, providing a mental and physical break so they can come back well-rested. It reduces burn-out, time taken off sick and improves staff morale.”

However, it seems some people may actually welcome a break from Christmas festivities as a quarter of British workers are happy to check in, with an additional 25 percent made to feel important that they are needed. 

A further 18 percent are made to feel smart. Meanwhile, only one in five people feel stressed at the prospect and 13 percent are angry at being contacted. 

Even with people taking an extended break over Christmas, 84 percent of those surveyed have annual leave left to take with the average Brit having five days left over. 

For those who do have annual leave left over at the end of the year, only 25 percent have been able to carry the remaining days over to 2022 with seven percent of people simply losing them. 

 Jo Mackie said: “Employers also have an obligation to ensure their staff are taking adequate amounts of annual leave or they risk serious fines. If your employer is not honouring your legal right to annual leave, a consultation with a specialist employment lawyer will advise you on your rights.”