Using vacation days is good for everyone

Over the past few months, we have talked a lot about what benefits and incentives matter most to employees. Perhaps unsurprisingly, employees are focused on competitive compensation and other cash-based rewards. But what about the benefits that employees need, but don’t rank as highly?

While vacation days are ranked lower on the list of benefits most important to employee satisfaction, we hear in the news over and over how important it is for employees to recharge out of the office—and how difficult it is to actually take that time. In fact, a recent Oxford Economics study finds that American workers lose 169 million days of paid time off each year. Yet our analysis reveals no clear payoff for employees for sacrificing their time off, as workers who do so are not more likely to get pay raises.

Using paid vacation days is good for everyone. Not only is it beneficial to employees’ health and productivity, it also allow the company to learn to function in their absence, says Megan McArdle in this article from Bloomberg. This raises some questions for management: How can companies ensure that employees are getting away from the office? What can employers do to create a culture that encourages taking well-earned time off?

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2020 Workforce news roundup: Summer holiday edition

Summer foreign workers critical to Maine resorts, where staff remember last summer’s federal red tape struggles with visa processing (Bangor Daily News): In Ogunquit, Maine, the local population of 1,200 isn’t able meet the demands of numerous summer visitors. Some local resorts and restaurants participate in a government program that brings foreign workers to the town to fill the positions—but they are met with bureaucratic challenges along the way.

Romanians are EU’s hardest working employees (Business Review): A recent Inscop Research study has found that Romanian employees take the least vacation time of any other group in the EU. Last year, nearly half did not take any time off in the summer.

Column: Avoid staff vacation challenges (Charlotte Observer): Juggling employees’ vacation times can be a struggle—especially around summer holidays. Some firms are offering incentives for employees to stay around the holidays, or coordinating vacation schedules at the start of the summer.

No big summer vacation? You’ve got plenty of company (The Kansas City Star): According to the US Department of Labor, about 25% of American workers don’t have paid vacation time. Meanwhile, many employees who do have paid vacation aren’t able to use their time, or don’t want to, as taking vacation time can mean more stress leading up to the days off—and resentment from coworkers who may have to cover for you.