The percentage of Canadians taking all of their allotted vacation time increased to 27 per cent in 2021, compared to 2020 when 20 per cent said they used all of their vacation days, according to a new survey by Maru Public Opinion for ADP Canada Co.

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, which polled more than 1,500 Canadian adults, found 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 last year.

Read: Half of Canadians taking less time off in December due to pandemic: survey

“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, vice-president of marketing at ADP Canada, in a press release. “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.”

Three-quarters (75 per cent) of employees said they’re planning to take time off over the holiday season, representing a 14 per cent increase from last year. The survey was conducted in November right before news of the Omicron coronavirus variant broke, but even pre-Omicron, the vast majority (75 per cent) of respondents said travel was off the table during the holidays this year.

“Taking time off is about more than getting away,” said 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.”

Read: Canadian workers describing burnout as high, extreme: survey