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‘Time-off tax’: Many workers forgoing holidays this year

December 22, 2020
By Talent Canada staff

The pandemic is stealing the holidays: half of working Canadians (49 per cent) 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.

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.


‘Year like no other’

Strikingly, one-quarter of all workers surveyed (25 per cent) have not used any of their vacation time.

While some Canadians will lose their vacation time after year-end, over a quarter (28 per cent) 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 of 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.”

‘Time-off tax’

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.

An online survey of 860 Canadians was completed between Dec. 4 and 6.

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