It’s Heads Down for the Holidays: Half of Working Canadians Taking Less or No Vacation Time this Holiday Season

While Canadians have taken fewer vacation days in 2020, a new ADP Canada survey shows Canadian workers continue to pay hefty “Time Off Tax” for the time they do take

The pandemic is stealing the holidays: half of working Canadians (49%) will be taking less, or no, vacation time in December, citing the impacts of COVID-19. Of those, 27 per cent say they will not take any time off at all during the holidays this year because of the restrictions.

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The survey, conducted by Leger on behalf of ADP Canada also revealed working Canadians took less vacation in 2020 overall, with 43 per cent of those polled citing they have used less than half of their vacation allotment this year. This trend disproportionally affects working women compared to men, with 50 per cent saying they have taken less than half of their vacation this year. Strikingly, one-quarter of all workers surveyed (25%) have not used any of their vacation time.

While some Canadians will lose their vacation time after year-end, over a quarter (28%) of those working Canadians who say they will take less or no time off due to the pandemic plan to carry their vacation time over into 2021.

“In a year like no other, it’s clear that Canadians are struggling to disconnect from their jobs and take a much-needed break, or not taking time off at all”, said Heather Haslam, Vice President, Marketing at ADP Canada. “While this may be difficult during the pandemic, employers need to be vigilant and make room for employees to take time off to avoid burnout. Ensuring that teams are properly resourced and that employees understand time off will not impact their performance ratings will increase workers’ comfort in utilizing their allotted vacation time.”

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Despite significantly less time away from work, the “time off tax”, which is the time workers have to put in before or after a vacation in order to take time off, is still very prevalent for working Canadians. The survey found that Canadian workers anticipate spending an average of 17 hours on extra work before a vacation and an additional 17 hours on extra work after a vacation, for a total ‘time off tax’ of 34 hours, a figure that has been growing since 2017.

Additional Findings

  • Workers aged 18 – 34 are more likely to report having taken none of their vacation (30%) than any other cohort
  • Men were more likely to say they will take time off this year (64% vs. 58% for women) and women were slightly more likely to say they will take no time off (29% compared to 25%)
  • Single workers are more likely to say they will not take any time off during the holidays compared to workers that are married (34% vs. 22%)

Survey Methodology

An online survey of 860 Canadians was completed between December 4 – 6, 2020, using Leger’s online panel. The margin of error for this survey was +/- 3.3%, 19 times out of 20. Please note that throughout the report, only responses from those Canadians who work full-time, part-time or are self-employed/freelance were reported.

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ADP CanadaCOVID-19Holiday SeasonNEWSNo Vacation TimePerformanceTime Off Tax
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