3 Reasons Why Employees Aren’t Taking Time Off from Work

taking time off from work

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Project Time Off, 52% of Americans aren’t taking time off from work and using their PTO.


Well, what other countries used to view as an “American” trait of over-working is beginning to spread as Canadians are seeing similar trends… 

As a business owner or HR representative, you may find some of these reasons for a lack of vacation time surprising. Here are 3 major reasons employees aren’t taking time off work.

1. They Can’t “Afford” a Holiday

While most employees will still be paid for taking time off from work, one of the major factors influencing their decision is that employees feel they can’t afford to take a vacation.

Perhaps it is the influence of social media and seeing others spending their PTO on grand holidays at resorts or backpacking across Europe. Whatever the exact reason, many Canadian employees are not viewing a simple day at home or at the park as enough reason to leave the office behind.

The sentiment that some large or costly vacation must be planned is one of the surprising top reasons both Canadian and American employees aren’t using up that valuable PTO to recharge. 

2. Pressure to Keep Up

ADP Canada reported that many of their employees were leaving PTO on the table because of a feeling that employees needed to “keep up” on their work.

With almost 31 million Canadian vacation days left unused in 2016, the number is only growing. Company cultures can have a big impact on employees feeling that they will fall behind either in their actual work or competitively if they take time away.

If you suspect the culture in your workplace adds a bit too much stress or pressure on employees to over-work, this is definitely something worth changing. The benefits of taking time off from work are undeniable and will result in a much happier and more effective workforce.

3. Family Obligations

Does that reason seem a bit backward? Yea, we thought so too.

Nevertheless, many employees report that a major reason they choose not to take advantage of their PTO is that of family duties at home. Again, it could be the growing misconception that PTO must be used for some extended time away.

Either way, employees feel that quality time spent on holiday with family members may not be worth the loss of time spent in school for children.

Other family obligations like athletic teams, dance, music lessons, or others are other potential family obligations that inhibit employees feeling like they can take a break. 

Benefits of Taking Time off from Work

If you’re finding this over-working phenomenon is occurring in your company, perhaps it’s time to seriously consider the reasons why and the benefits of employee rejuvenation.

Reasons for taking time off from work once in a while include everything from longer life, better relationships, increased job satisfaction, improved quality of work, and about a million others. 

Whatever the reason you find most compelling, it’s probably time to “let your people go,” and enjoy that PTO.

For more ideas on improving workplace satisfaction and wellness, visit our blog.

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