ALMOST eight in 10 workers used less than three-quarters of their annual leave this year, according to a poll by STJobs.

Most spend more than 40 hours a week at work.

This work-life snapshot emerged from a poll of 3,389 employees by the online jobs portal.

Generation Y workers, aged between 17 and 30, took the least leave. Fifty-eight per cent of them used less than half their annual leave. This includes four in 10 who used less than a quarter.

But more than half of Generation X workers and baby-boomers - collectively defined as those aged 31 to 66 - managed to clear the bulk of their annual leave. Still, about a third of them were unable to clear a quarter or more.

Not using leave might be due to work commitments or simply bad planning when it comes to deciding when to take it, said Singapore Human Resources Institute executive director David Ang.

He added that workers might also opt not to take leave this year so that they can carry it forward, as is allowed by some firms.

A better policy is to make employees forfeit unused leave, he said, as "annual leave is meant to be taken". Leave not taken is also recorded as a liability in firms' finances.

Dr John Ng, president of management consultancy Meta, was surprised by the finding as Gen Y workers tend to prize work-life balance. Still, this "very driven" group might choose not to take leave as they are raring to climb the career ladder, he said.

Long working hours are the norm across all generations.

More than 65 per cent of those surveyed clocked more than 40 hours a week. This includes almost one in six who put in more than 50 hours. Another quarter or so worked 40 hours - meaning that less than 10 per cent of those polled got away with doing less.

Not all those long hours would have been spent productively, however. Almost a quarter of workers admitted to spending at least an hour a day checking social media websites at work.