Hess Associates

Do You Offer Your Employees a Long Enough Vacation Package?

Do You Offer Your Employees a Long Enough Vacation Package? How much vacation time are you offering prospective employees? 10 days? 14 days? How about a month?

Vacation Days in North America vs EU / UK:
• “On average, Canadian employees receive just 10 paid days of vacation per year”, and “Canada ranks No. 39 out of 43 countries for vacation day offering, tied with Costa Rica and Japan”
US employees take about 14 days off per year on average.
• “The U.S. does not federally mandate paid vacation or holidays, leaving it up to the discretion of employers. The EU, on the other hand, requires at least 20 days of vacation for all employees while the U.K. requires 28 days.”
Curiously though, even though North Americans typically get fewer vacation days than their EU counterparts, a majority of North American employees don’t even take all of their vacation days; and a majority (70%) of US employees feel they receive enough time off from work, compared with 53% of Europeans, according to a survey conducted by workforce tech solutions company Skynova.

The Relative Workload Burden:
John Bernasconi, project manager at Skynova, suggests that the US and European data might relate to differing perceptions of work-life balance between the regions, and/or to workload – the findings might partly reflect that in North America, “the workload is often too high and employees cannot spare the days off in order to make deadlines or fulfill deliverables. There is also the desire to show commitment and dedication to their employer, often putting their own needs aside.” So, “this could mean a company’s culture is making it difficult for employees to take time off, regardless of what their PTO and leave benefits look like.”

Lack of Adequate Time Off and Burnout
But even if North American employees perceive that they receive enough time off, they also “often suffer from burn out, especially those who don’t take their full vacation.” This could be because, “Taking vacation days provides numerous benefits, including a more engaged workforce, time to recharge, increased productivity, reduced burnout, improved health, and accomplishing more in less time.” In fact, in Europe, we read that employee “productivity does not seem to be diminished because of their time off.”

Time Off and Job Satisfaction
Further, “Skynova found that 92% of those who felt supported in taking time off also felt satisfied with their jobs. [And] Of workers who do not feel supported in utilizing their PTO, just 59% reported feeling satisfied with their jobs.” Bernasconi points out, “‘When employees feel appreciated as humans, not just as task computers, it improves not only their job satisfaction but their performance,’”. And he adds that, “‘It might be cliche, but happy employees are better employees.’”

Keep Your Employees Happy to keep Your Employees
In light of the above, and with vacation time purportedly “becoming more and more important to individuals and companies anxious to keep their employees happy”, perhaps your company might want to research the potential benefits/upsides and risks/downsides of offering more vacation days and/or creating a company culture in which employees feel encouraged to take their full vacation time?
(NB – bird’s eye view, not business advice)

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