How many workers are taking all their vacation time?

'Time-off tax' still much lower compared to pandemic levels, says report

How many workers are taking all their vacation time?

Nearly three in 10 (29 per cent) employees say they used all of their vacation time in 2022.

Encouragingly, that’s up from just 27 per cent in 2020, but is still far below the 48 per cent figure in 2019, according to a report from ADP Canada.

Time-off tax

However, workers are paying a much lower “time-off tax” this year, finds the survey of over 800 Canadian workers in late November.

Overall, Canadians invest an average of 20 additional hours to prepare and return from their vacation this year.

That figure is down from the 21 hours in 2021, and 34 hours in 2020. The 2022 time-off tax is even lower compared to data recorded in 2019 (33 hours), 2018 (23 hours) and 2016 (21 hours).

It’s “a promising shift” to see Canadian workers taking back their time to disconnect from work, says Heather Haslam, vice president of marketing, ADP Canada.

"However, it's important for employers to acknowledge that vacation levels continue to fall below pre-pandemic levels and external factors can impact Canadians' ability to take time off. Organizations that can help workers prioritize healthy work life habits may contribute to increasing engagement and employee retention levels."

Nearly one-third (30 per cent) of Canadians didn’t use all of their vacation days in 2021, according to a previous report from Expedia.

Looking ahead

Most working Canadians (69 per cent) say they will not travel during the holiday season, representing a seven-percentage-point decrease from last year, according to ADP Canada.

Over half (56 per cent) of respondents say current inflation levels played a role in their holiday travel plans.

"2023 marks an opportunity for employers to equip employees for wellness by encouraging workers to recharge and disconnect – promoting engagement and productivity," says Haslam.

Employees are likely to take days off if their employer does more to remind them to do so, says Judith Mewhort, a managing partner at Montridge Advisory Group, in speaking with Canadian HR Reporter.

Time-off benefits

Getting workers to take annual leaves has several benefits for workers and companies alike, according to Randstad.

For workers, it reduces stress, improves mood and improves motivation. That, in turn, leads to improved work performance, it says.

“Coming back to work feeling rested makes employees feel more motivated and work better. They’re also less likely to make small mistakes that may be linked to fatigue and the risk of mental health illnesses, physical health problems and absenteeism is greatly reduced.”

To emphasize the critical importance of mental health, one Vancouver social media management company had all of its 1,100 employees to log off from work for one week.

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