Posted on: April 01, 2014
Posted by: Brigitte Diem-Guy, Vice President Sales & Marketing, SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts
Do you ever feel like you aren’t getting enough vacation time from work? Compared to any country in the world, residents of Canada have one of the lowest vacation day allotments, with companies required to give just 10 days off work a year. With nine stat holidays, Canadians receive an average of 21 days off annually. Compare this to Brazil, where residents are given up to 30 vacation days, plus 11 public holidays each year. In the European Union (EU) all workers are given 20 days of vacation time, and France gives its employees three times the amount that Canada does (30 days).
Unfair and outrageous – isn’t it? But before you sign up for French lessons and start scouring French employment sites consider this: Statistics show that more than one quarter of Canadians actually don’t take all the time off they are entitled to. The average employee gives up three vacation days a year, according to a survey by Ipsos-Reid Canada. To put things into perspective, 32 million total vacation days go unclaimed!
Why are we ignoring the time-away-from work-health benefits such as higher positive emotional levels and less depression, lower blood pressure, better sleep and even smaller waistlines? (I have to admit, the last benefit made me REALLY perk up and grab that vacation request form!)
Here are two of the reasons given during a survey:
1. At least 30% of all Canadians say they act out of fear – fear of falling behind and what’s going to happen at work when they are not there. People want to be seen as dedicated and indispensable, it’s a badge of honour to forsake vacation for work. And then there is the stress both in preparing for time off, and in dealing with the work that piles up while they’re away.
2. Almost one in five Canadians worry that they cannot afford a vacation.
While managers and employers are not responsible for providing work balance for their employees, in my opinion it is their responsibility to assist the employees to seek and maintain their own work balance. This means that decisions, policies, values, and expectations in the workplace need to support employees in their work-life balance choices. It is also important for managers to honor the employee’s time-off by not contacting him/her unless it is truly an emergency.
If the lack of cash is preventing you from taking time off however, here are 5 vacation tips that are easy on your wallet:
- STAYCATIONS: The word “vacation” often implies an exotic destination, but there are a lot of fun options right on your doorstep. Check with the Canadian Tourism Commission, your provincial or city tourism offices to find out what’s available in your own urban or rural backyard and head out for a long weekend.
- PLAN EARLY: You can often lock in the lowest airfares and great hotel rates by booking early. Sign up for airline specials and hotel newsletters to keep informed of the “deals”.
- LAST MINUTE DEALS: If you cannot plan ahead but don’t mind keeping your options open, taking advantage of last minute deals can save you on travel costs. A word of caution: Only opt for this route if you can stay flexible about when you leave and where you go, since your last minute options will usually be rather limited.
- CUT THE COST OF EATING OUT: Look for a hotel room with either full kitchens, kitchenettes or a microwave and refrigerator to store and warm your food. Eating out can take a big bite out of your vacation budget, so eating in from time to time allows you to spend more money on fun activities during your trip.
- CHOOSE THE RIGHT HOTEL: You can check various websites for room rate comparisons and review sites for hotel ratings however for the Best Rate Guarantee always check the hotel websites directly. Most hotels have excellent promotional offers if you are staying 3 or more days, and some also offer complimentary daily breakfast. If you are going in a big group of 10 or more people, call up the hotel and check for special group rates.
It’s a fact: People who take vacations have lower stress and a less risk of heart disease – not to mention a better outlook on life and more motivation to achieve goals. So go ahead and submit that vacation request – you deserve it!