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December 05, 2021

Why not taking your vacation days is a really bad idea

Canadians still aren’t taking the full number of vacation days they've been allotted. But at least we’re catching up with the rest of the world.  

AdThe average Canadian worker earned 16 vacation days this year but will only take 15 of them, according to a recent Expedia analysis of vacation habits across several countries and continents. That's slightly less than we left on the table last year.

Meanwhile, workers in other parts of the world seem to have no problem getting away from the office – excluding strike or riot duty, of course.

Workers in France earned 30 vacation days, on average, in 2011, and pretty much used every single one of those days. The same goes for employees in Brazil, Spain, and the UK.

There are some regional differences across the country, however.  

* Bing: Why People Don't Take Vacations

Albertans receive an average of 20 vacation days a year but only take 15, while Quebec closes out the top three with an average of three untaken days out of an allotted 20.

A few of the main reasons why we’re missing out include not being able to afford to travel, being able to transform unused vacation days into cash, or simply being too busy at work.

All of which is, well, a bit stupid, says career coach Dana Leavy: "If you're given vacation, personal and sick time as part of a compensation package, and you’re not taking it because you think it will make you look more dedicated … all you’re doing is leaving a big fat bonus on your desk and walking away."

While even just one forfeited days of vacation may not seem like a lot, it can really add up. And there's nothing to say that employers will continue to let you bank the time, she warns. Or, for that matter, stay in business long enough for you to collect.

How do you fare in the not-taking-that-vacation sweeps? Can you bank days for future use? Any limits? If not, just what's keeping you at the office?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...