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Benidorm leave

In a speech to the charity Age Concern on 24 October 2006, David Cameron, the leader of the British Conservative Party, used this phrase in reference to the employment policies of the supermarket chain Asda (owned by the US company WalMart). Benidorm leave is a period of up to three months unpaid leave between January and March that doesn’t affect an individual’s employment history.

The term is also used by the retailer B&Q and some other large organisations and refers to the Spanish resort on the Mediterranean, which is popular among many British holidaymakers and to which it seems it is assumed older staff may wish to decamp during the coldest months of the British winter.

The company has designed a number of eye-catching leave packages in recent years, ranging from “IVF leave” for people having fertility treatment, to “Benidorm leave” for older workers wanting to spend time in the winter sun.

Western Mail, 26 Apr. 2006

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 23 Dec. 2006

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The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
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Last modified: 23 December 2006.