Vacation shaming a rising workplace trend: study

Just 66 per cent of Canadian employees are taking the full amount of vacation time they’re owed, according to a new survey by research firm Maru/Blue.

The survey, which polled 1,000 Canadians and 500 Americans, found 50 per cent of Canadians have experienced a rising workplace trend called “vacation shaming,” a situation where co-workers or bosses use guilt or peer pressure to discourage employees from using their vacation time, noted a press release.

Nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of millennials surveyed said they’ve encountered vacation shaming in the workplace. The survey also found millennials (33 per cent) are most likely to feel nervous, stressed, worried, guilty or ashamed when asking for time off work compared to generation X (17 per cent) and baby boomers (12 per cent). They were also the least likely generation to say they’ve used all their vacation time, with only 60 per cent taking all the time they’ve earned.

Read: The benefits of taking vacation days

In terms of vacation shaming, the survey found not all provinces are equal, with those in Quebec (26 per cent) and British Columbia (41 per cent) the least likely to have experienced it.

Canadian respondents said they experience the most vacation shaming when requesting time off from work (38 per cent), in the days leading up to their vacation (27 per cent) and during their last day in the office (22 per cent).

When asked why they don’t use all their vacation time, Canadian respondents gave several concerns: they’re too busy at work (22 per cent), they’re unable afford to take a vacation (17 per cent) and they don’t want to have more work waiting for them upon their return (eight per cent).

“Many of us assume taking time off will negatively impact our career trajectory, but evidence suggests employees that take their vacation have increased productivity, creativity and decreased stress and risk of burnout, making them more likely to get promotions and raises,” said Dr. Lisa Bélanger, a behaviour change expert specializing in helping employees maximize their mental and physical well-being. “Ultimately, the payoffs are significant for both the employer and the employee.”

Read: Vacation time cited as a top factor when considering job offers