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Half of Workers Did Not Take All Their Vacation in 2010

Dec. 21, 2010 — Nearly half of employees failed to take all their vacation time in 2010, according to a survey by Right Management. An online poll and asked "Have you used all of your vacation time this year?" The results were as follows:

46% - No
54% - Yes

"This may appear to be a disturbing finding," said Douglas J. Matthews, President and Chief Operating Officer for Right Management. "But it's an improvement over a year ago, when in the identical survey we found that two-thirds of workers weren't taking all the time that was due to them. We concluded then that fears of job insecurity and work pressures after layoffs were probably why so many gave up vacation time. So it may be that our latest finding reflects a somewhat healthier workplace mindset."

With only half of employees actually taking all of their vacation in 2010, many employees are likely uncertain about their futures. "There's clearly a lot of stress among employees in both Canada and the U.S.," Matthews said. "There are heavier workloads as well as uncertainty about business viability and the chance of more cutbacks."

Nevertheless, vacation time is an earned employee benefit, observed Matthews, and it affects work-life balance and overall wellness. "Vacation plays a fundamental role in fostering a healthy, productive workforce. Foregoing some vacation days may by itself not prove significant, but when many employees come to feel they can't take the time to which they're entitled real harm may be done…and the results can be high turnover, low retention, absenteeism, frequent health or safety claims or a host of other HR problems. Vacation time is essential for balance and wellness."

"Employers should do all they can to encourage their workers to take the vacation time due to them," Matthews said. "What's good for the workforce is almost always good for the business."

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