Canadians work an extra 21 hours before and after a week of vacation: study

Beware the time-off tax: Canadian employees taking a week of vacation put in 21 hours of extra work to prepare and then get caught up, a study by ADP Canada found.

Three-quarters of respondents do work ahead of time (on average 10 hours) and 73 per cent work extra once they return (11 hours). Women (49 per cent) are more likely do so than men (40 per cent), and employees in the Prairies (90 per cent) are more likely to do so than other Canadians (82 per cent). Employees in Quebec, on the other hand, are much less likely to pay a time-off tax: just 53 per cent report putting in extra time before and after taking vacation.

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This additional effort tied to taking holidays “provides a good explanation for why many Canadians may be reluctant to take a vacation, and may not feel completely rested when they do,” said Virginia Brailey, vice-president of strategy and marketing at ADP Canada, in a release. She suggests managers encourage employees to use up all their vacation time and to do so as well to set a good example.

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She also suggests encouraging staff to take vacation during quieter periods. “Everyone wants time off in the summer and at the holidays, but most workplaces can’t just shut down,” she said. “Supervisors have the opportunity to work with their teams early in the year to schedule vacations in a way that doesn’t impact productivity and doesn’t pressure people to take vacation at a time when workloads are particularly heavy.”

It’s also important for employers to have a realistic view of employees’ workloads, Brailey said. “If you have employees on your team whose work is essential, it’s important to make sure they have a back-up so they can take time off without worrying.”

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