The importance of vacations

Employees need work – life balance.  Vacation time-off is one key to maintaining this balance.  Having said this, over the years HR pros have met some employers who have no issue with paying vacation pay earned but discourage vacation time-off.  What these employers fail to understand is that employees need time away from work.

Each jurisdiction in Canada sets its own minimum vacation pay / vacation time-off entitlements.  As a previous post showed, minimum vacation entitlements vary across the country.  These entitlements are minimums and there is nothing in any set of regulations which prevents employers from being more generous.  In fact, HR pros often recommends employers be more generous and here is why…

Employee Attraction.  Not all employers can be pay leaders nor do we they think  they need to be.  For some workers, the right combination of pay and paid vacation time-off can make a lower-paying job more attractive than a slightly better-paying job elsewhere.

Employee Satisfaction.  The idea of an employee keeping work at work and home at home is antiquated.  Paid vacation time-off allows an employee to take care of their physical, family, and mental well-being.

Productivity.  Employees who do not take vacation time-off are missing out on the chance to refocus and even the most positive of employees are subject to burnout.   Fact is that employees who do not take time-off are less productive!

Health.  For a host of reasons, not all employers are prepared to offer paid sick time-off.  Provided the vacation request process is flexible enough employees can use paid time-off in lieu of paid sick time.  (It must be noted here that using paid vacation time in lieu of sick time can be a de-motivator.  For this approach to be seen as a positive by employees, the paid vacation time-off entitlement must be more than the minimum under law.  It must be clearly communicated that one of the reasons the company provides enhanced paid vacation time-off is for this reason.)

Non-work Related Issues.  It would be nice if employees could attend to all personal obligations outside of working hours.  While employers should encourage employees to minimize their time away from work to attend to personal items the fact is that this is not always possible.  Providing higher-than-legally-required paid vacation time-off allows an employee paid time off to take care of those things that matter to them.

Safety Results.  Accidents happen for any number of reasons but mainly because of employee distraction.  Employees can become distracted when they have outstanding and unresolved (personal or workplace) issues, when they are tired, when they are not focused, etc.  Paid vacation time-off provides employees with the time away from the workplace that they need to recharge and take care of their lives.

To all those employers who provide vacation pay but discourage vacation time-off, and to all those employers who say they cannot afford to provide more paid vacation time-off than the legal entitlement, HR pros challenges you to reconsider the benefits of paid time away from the workplace.

Happy Summer 2012!

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