Canada’s 10-million missing vacation days

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Despite HR’s best efforts to provide employees with a better work-life balance, millions of Canadians are still leaving vacation days unused – to the detriment of organizations everywhere.

Vacation survey

This year, Expedia’s annual Vacation Deprivation survey found that Canadians will receive an average of 17 vacation days but will only take 15.5 – the missing time off represents close to 10 million unused vacation days this year alone.

Since the survey’s 2003 inception, Canadians have collectively left more than 350 million vacation days on the table, resulting in an overwhelming $53 billion in wages handed back to employers.

While it might sound financially beneficial to have your employees leave a day or two on the table, HR has long known that the opposite is actually true.

Last year’s most talked about perk was unlimited paid vacation and employers increasingly provided holiday subsidiaries – so why isn’t it working?   

Heavy schedules

"Over the years, we've noticed some recurring reasons as to why Canadians aren't taking full advantage of their allotted vacation time,” said stress and wellness expert Beverly Beuermann-King, who has been associated with the program since 2003.

“Commonly, it's because things such as looking after family and focusing on their careers have taken priority,” she added.

The survey revealed the most common reasons employees cite skipping vacation days:

·         Heavy work schedules (32 per cent)
·         Saving for other obligations or paying off debt (29 per cent)
·         Personal and family schedules (24 per cent)

And Canadians are feeling the effects – more than half (52 per cent) said they are vacation deprived in comparison to 48 per cent who said the same last year.

Sixty-six percent say it is because they did not get enough vacation days this year while 34 per cent say it’s because they do not get to take all their vacation days.

The survey also revealed that more than one million Canadians have not taken a vacation in over 15 years and more than 1.4 million have never been on vacation in their lifetime.

“While investing in our jobs and families is important, so is investing in our physical and mental wellbeing,” said Beuermann-King. “In fact, taking time off for yourself can often result in improved relationships with others and greater productivity."
Employer action

HR managers have long known the importance of encouraging a healthy work-life balance but it seems many simply aren’t doing enough. (Continued...)

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  • Larry Dawson on 2015-11-03 12:56:04 PM

    This seems completely counterintuitive. People not taking enough paid vacation days causes employer concern. Yet people taking paid sick days causes greater employer concern. Can't have your cake and eat it too. Either work them till they're too sick to keep on working and call that a vacation or stop with the phony concerns about employee welfare.

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