Do Canadian workers need more vacation time?
Tracy Nesdoly recently wrote an article about 12th century serfs having a better work-life balance than we do today, having taken 170 days of vacation a year.
Sounds good to me!
There is no doubt, in my mind, that Canadian labour laws are not up
to date on mandated paid vacation time. Our laws provide workers with
10 days a year.
10 days out 365 is nothing. Compare that to almost every other
country in the world, our vacation time is dismally, almost
According to a Mercer report
comparing global employee statutory and public holiday entitlements,
“employees in Canada are amongst those with the lowest entitlement with
only 10 days”.
What’s worse is that generally speaking, you have to have worked one
year before you’re entitled to vacation time, and unless otherwise
stated in a contract, your company may be able to dictate when you take
So, no vacation for a year, and then you’re told when you can take it? Seems ridiculous.
I once worked for a company that dictated when employees could take
one week of their two-week vacation. The mandatory one-week period was
over Christmas. This was fair in the sense that often not much is
realistically accomplished over the holiday, but unfair since not
everyone celebrates Christmas.
Needless to say, I didn’t feel much loyalty to the company since
their policies didn’t seem to respect or appreciate employees’ work/life
This takes me to my next point regarding vacation time. There seems a
fine line between company needs and respecting employee needs.
Would offering more vacation, and the ability to schedule your own vacation increase loyalty to a company?
It would for me. Knowing that your workplace won’t dictate when you
can vacation and spend time outside the office offers a level of
consideration and respect for employees while also demonstrating that an
employer values their contribution and wants employees to maintain a
I also don’t understand the why an employer would want an employee to
go without any time off for an entire year. Is that not just asking
for burn out?
While ranting away on Canada’s mandatory vacation allowance, I should
point out that there are many companies that offer more than the
two-week minimum and allow their employees to schedule vacation long
before the one year working mark.
In the meantime, a quick glance at the Mercer report makes Canada look a little backwards on the work/balance scale.
Here is a sneak peak of the Mercer report on holiday offerings around the world:
- • Brazil: mandates 30 days a year
- • Britain: a global financial hub, mandates 28 days a year
- • Russia: mandates 28 days a year
- • Japan: mandates 20 days a year
- • South Africa: mandates 21 days a year
What do you think? Are you offered a reasonable amount of vacation
time? Should Canada take a page from the Brazilian holiday handbook and
mandate more time off for employees?