by ADP Canada

Canadians are working an average of four extra days to make up for time off.

An increasing number of working Canadians anticipate putting in extra hours before or after a vacation this year, according to ADP Canada’s most recent Workplace Insight Study.

Now in its fourth year, the study found the “time off tax” is growing in both severity and scope. According to this year’s survey, 66 per cent of working Canadians say they are likely to do extra work before or after their vacation.

The study, conducted by Leger on behalf of ADP Canada, revealed workers who work extra hours anticipate spending an average of 16 hours on extra work before a vacation and an average of 17 hours on extra work after a vacation. This is an increase of ten hours in total when compared to last year.

“It’s troubling more Canadians are putting in extra hours and increasing the number of extra hours worked in order to take vacation,” said Hendrik Steenkamp, Director of HR Operations and Advisory Services at ADP Canada. “To avoid the effects of the time off tax, employers should ensure their teams are properly resourced during vacation times. Managers should promote a healthy work-life balance by encouraging employees to disconnect while away, alleviating pressure to check in. This helps increase employee satisfaction and retention while reducing burnout and frustration.”

Key Findings

  • Fewer Canadians are disconnecting while on vacation
    • Three in five workers (60%) check in with work at least once when on vacation, while 39 per cent check in multiple times or daily
    • Self-employed Canadians are significantly more likely to check in while away from work (80% vs. 58% full time workers)
  • Millennials and Gen Z are more likely to experience a harsher “time off tax”
    • Younger Canadian workers aged 18 to 34 are slightly more likely to spend extra time doing work before and after a vacation than other age groups (67% vs. 63% for those aged 35+)
    • Nearly half (48%) of those 18-34 check in daily or multiple times, while 70 per cent check in with work at some point while away
  • Less than half of working Canadians take their full vacation allowances (48%) – why is this?
    • 30 per cent feel they have enough time off during the year and do not need to take the full amount
    • 25 per cent are stockpiling their vacation days for the future
    • 22 per cent do not take all their vacation because their workload is too high
    • Workers 55 or older are more likely to say they book vacation any time they want (67% vs. 43% for those aged 54 or younger)

Survey Methodology

An online survey of 1,562 Canadians was completed between November 1 to 4, 2019, using Leger’s online panel. The margin of error for this study was +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. Please note that throughout the report, only those who work full-time, part-time or are self-employed/freelance (906 Canadians) are reported.