Millions of Canadians work extra hours to avoid 'time off tax'

ADP Canada survey reveals the cost of taking a vacation

Millions of Canadians work extra hours to avoid 'time off tax'
Steve Randall

As the holidays approach, two thirds of Canadians will be working extra hours either before or after taking time off, adding to workplace stress.

That’s because they want to avoid the loss of earnings, dubbed “time off tax”, something that is growing in both scope and severity according to a new survey.

ADP Canada says that Canadians are working an average 4 days to make up for their vacation time.

"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."

The survey found that those 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, an increase of ten hours in total when compared to last year.

Those 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+).

But the survey also revealed that many Canadian workers are not taking their full vacation entitlement. For 30%, they feel they have enough time off during the year and do not need to take the full amount; 25% are stockpiling their vacation days for the future; and 22% say their workload is too high.

Hard to switch off
Three in five workers (60%) check in with work at least once when on vacation, while 39% 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).

Image credit: ADP Canada Co.