More employees taking allotted vacation: Survey

59 per cent check in with work while on holiday

Despite recent dips in the global economy and the ever-increasing ability to check into work from almost anywhere, Canadians are actually vacationing more than they were 10 years ago, according to’s annual Vacation Deprivation study.

The number of Canadians taking all the vacation days allowed has significantly increased since the first year of the study in 2003, when one-third were not taking all of their vacation days. Today, this figure has dropped to a national average of 19 per cent, found the survey of 1,057 workers, with respondents typically receiving 15 vacation days annually.

“Seeing new places, immersing in a culture, fulfilling a lifelong dream to visit a destination and even just enjoying a warmer climate are experiences we should make time for because of the immediate and long-term benefits travel has on our professional and personal lives,” said Sean Shannon, vice-president and managing director at Expedia Canada.

Regional differences

In 2003, 41 per cent of respondents from British Columbia said they did not use up all of their vacation time, the highest of all provinces. Today, workers in the province have become the least vacation-deprived, with only 13 per cent stating they leave vacation days on the table — the lowest of any region in the country.

One-third (32 per cent) of employed Ontario residents in 2003 did not take all of their allotted vacation days compared with 21 per cent in 2012. Thirty per cent of working Quebecers reported not taking all their vacation time 10 years ago, compared with 21 per cent today. And 35 per cent of employed Atlantic Canadians stated they did not take all of their allotted vacation days in 2003 compared with 18 per cent this year.

The most vacation-deprived region is the Prairies, where 25 per cent of respondents took less vacation time than they were entitled to in 2012. This figure is down from 10 years ago, when it was at 35 per cent.

Checking in

Fifty-nine per cent of Canadians report they “constantly,” “regularly” or at least “sometimes” check work email or voicemail while on holiday.

“Regardless of anyone’s position on the corporate ladder, there are real benefits to ‘falling off the grid’ and focusing on enjoying your holiday,” said Shannon. “Despite the challenges we sometimes experience catching up with work after returning from vacation, there’s no doubt that those who take the vacation time they are given come back invigorated, happier and de-stressed.”

While the majority of Canadians (72 per cent) felt supported by their bosses to take a vacation, this number was lowest in Quebec (56 per cent). Once vacation plans are made, however, Quebecers were the least likely to cancel or postpone them (27 per cent), while those in Atlantic Canada and Ontario were most likely to amend travel plans because of professional obligations at 40 per cent and 39 per cent respectively. 

The most common reasons why Canadians forego vacationing include not being able to afford a holiday (26 per cent) and difficulties co-ordinating schedules with spouses, family and friends (21 per cent).

Summer is the preferred season for Canadians to take a vacation (43 per cent), followed by winter (26 per cent), fall (20 per cent) and spring (11 per cent). However 43 per cent of Prairie residents surveyed chose the winter as their ideal time for a getaway.

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