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‘Time-off tax’ decreases as more Canadians take vacation time: survey

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December 22, 2021
By Talent Canada

A new survey by ADP Canada and Maru Public Opinion reveals the majority of working Canadians say they will take time off over the holidays, but don’t plan on traveling. Additionally, the survey found the “time off tax” Canadians incur, an indicator ADP Canada reports on annually, has significantly decreased for the first time in four years.

Canadian workers are slowly returning to pre-pandemic vacation habits, with 27 per cent of survey respondents indicating they will be using all their allotted vacation time for 2021.  This marks an increase compared to 2020, where one-in-five (20%) used their vacation days but remains well below pre-pandemic levels.

Additionally, for the first time since 2017, the “time off tax”, an ADP indicator that measures the extra time employees spend preparing for their vacation and catching up on work after returning from vacation, has decreased year over year.  This year’s survey found Canadian workers reported investing an average of 21 hours of extra work to prepare for and return from vacation – 13 hours less than the time reported when compared to last year (2020).

“The uncertainty around the pandemic, coupled with the blurring of work and home life, left many employees in a situation where they were not taking vacation time last year,” said Heather Haslam, of ADP Canada.  “We’re finally starting to see Canadian workers eager to take time off, which not only helps achieve a better work-life balance but significantly contributes to preventing burnout.”


Many Canadians are taking a break this holiday season, with three quarters (75 per cent) of workers surveyed planning to take time off over the holidays, representing a 14 per cent increase from last year.

Although vacation days are on the rise, travel is off the table according to over three-quarters of survey respondents.

“Taking time off is about more than getting away,” added Heather Haslam. “When employees take the time to relax and distance themselves from work, they come back feeling refreshed and recharged, which can directly translate to their productivity and quality of work. Employers need to make sure everyone takes the time to press pause and disconnect – especially those who start to show signs of fatigue.”

From Nov. 24 to 25, an online survey of 1,520 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada panelists (of whom 824 were employed) was executed by Maru/Blue.

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