Expedia Canada Corp.

Expedia Canada Corp.

May 18, 2006 06:59 ET

Vacation Time Shrinking In Canada: Fourth Annual Expedia.ca Vacation Deprivation Survey This Year Finds Employees Getting Two Less Vacation Days

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - May 18, 2006) -

ATTN: Travel, Lifestyle, Business, Career, Assignment Editors

Medical professionals and caregivers top the list of most vacation-deprived professions

The fourth annual Expedia.ca™/Ipsos Reid Vacation Deprivation survey reveals that vacation time in Canada is shrinking. In 2005, employed Canadians reported receiving an average of 21 vacation days each year, while in 2006 the average is 19 - giving us the dubious honour of receiving the fewest vacation days per year after the United States (14 days) and Australia (17 days)(1). In addition, employed Canadians forfeit an average of two days of vacation per year which could be used to relax or travel, totalling 32 million untaken days and $5.1 billion (CDN) in wages handed back to employers. Yet Canadians show a strong desire to take time off, with one in five employed Canadians saying they would take a lower salary for more vacation time (22 per cent), and "an extra vacation day" tops the list of perks employees would like to receive as a reward for company loyalty. From a list of professions provided to survey respondents, Canadian workers identified caregivers and medical professionals as the most vacation-deprived jobs, beating out lawyers, salespeople and financial professionals, among others.

"With today's buoyant economy, vacation deprivation continues to be a problem - both in terms of the total number of vacation days provided to employees and the number that employees are actually able to take," explains sociologist and stress expert Beverly Beuermann-King. "And, it's no surprise that Canadians feel doctors, nurses and caregivers are among the most vacation-deprived because their commitment to patient needs is literally around the clock."

Vacation time increasingly prized

The survey revealed that nearly one-quarter (24 per cent) of employed Canadians do not use all of their vacation days and one in ten say they don't usually take any days. Yet more vacation time tops the list of perks to reward loyalty or years spent with a company - 40 per cent choose an additional vacation day over the second-most popular perk, a nicer workspace (10 per cent). Interestingly, approximately one in five (22 per cent) employed Canadians would be willing to take a lower salary for more vacation time.

(1) U.S. and Australian data taken from a Harris Interactive® survey conducted on behalf of Expedia.com. See Survey Methodology section for more information.

Why don't they take all of their days?

Employed Canadians say that the top reasons for not taking all of their vacation days are "not scheduling in advance" (11 per cent), "too busy at work" (9 per cent) and "taking cash in lieu of days" (8 per cent). About two in ten (22 per cent) have cancelled or postponed their vacation plans in the past because of work, and 18 per cent check their work messages while on vacation. Canadians seem to have trouble coping with work stress - more than two thirds (69 per cent) of employed Canadians feel stress just before, after or during a vacation.

Providing care means vacation time's rare

Of a list of ten professions, employed Canadians named medical professionals and caregivers as the top two vacation-deprived professions. Medical professionals, including doctors and nurses, were chosen by 48 per cent while caregivers, including social workers and long-term care workers came in at 46 per cent. Ranked lowest among the list of professions were civil servants (18 per cent) and teachers (17 per cent).

"No matter the profession, the importance of work-life balance and taking vacation is paramount," says Beuermann-King. "With 55 per cent of Canadians feeling rested and rejuvenated after a vacation and another 44 per cent feeling better about their job after a vacation, it's crucial to make the time to plan for a vacation, even during busy periods."

How does Canada fare globally?

Canadians come in third after Americans and Australians, who receive a respective 14 and 17 days of vacation each year on average. The U.S. has long held the distinction of being the country with the worst vacationing habits, and this year is no exception. Employed workers in the U.S. on average leave an extra day of vacation on the table (4 days in 2006 versus 3 days in 2005), despite showing an increase in average vacation days received (14 days in 2006 versus 12 days in 2005). France again wins the distinction for taking and receiving the most vacation days out of those countries surveyed - employed adults in France receive an average of 39 days of vacation each year.(2)

(2) U.S., Australian and French data taken from a Harris Interactive survey conducted on behalf of Expedia.com. Please see Survey Methodology section for more information.

Cross-Canada Vacation Deprivation Snapshot

- Quebec knows how to take time off - 11 per cent of workers outside of Quebec take zero vacation days versus just 4 per cent of Quebecers - and Quebecers are more likely to have called in sick to take or extend a vacation (47 per cent vs. 23 per cent)

- Lower income workers more vacation deprived - those with household income under $30,000 are more likely to take zero vacation days (25 per cent vs. 7 per cent), but they are less likely to check work messages while on vacation (8 per cent vs. 20 per cent)

- Men work longer than women - 45 per cent of employed men say they work more than 40 hours per week compared to 27 per cent of women

How Canadian vacation time gets taken

As the summer vacation gets underway, most plan to take extended periods of time off. Thirty-eight per cent plan at least one two-week vacation and another almost one-third (32 per cent) will take at least one one-week vacation. The survey also revealed:

- Taking a "sickie" - in addition to regular vacation, about three in ten (29 per cent) employed Canadians admit to calling in sick to take or extend a vacation

- "Vive" the long weekend! One in ten employed Canadians gets extra time off for summer long weekends

- Nearly 12 days at Christmas - More than one-third (36 per cent) of Canadian workers receive extra vacation days off between Christmas and New Year's

Expedia.ca travel incentives

Expedia.ca is here to help get Canadians out of the office and start enjoying the summer!

- City Break Sale - Canadians can make their own long weekend with a getaway to some of North America's most popular cities, at a savings of up to 20 percent for stays longer than three nights!

- California Summer Savings - Canadians booking for three nights in the land of surf and sun can save up to 20 percent!

- Free Nights in Mexico - Canadians booking on Expedia.ca for seven nights in Mexico may get their last two nights free!

Survey Methodology

Ipsos Reid - Canada

These are the findings of an online Ipsos Reid/Expedia.ca survey conducted from April 20 to April 27, 2006. For the survey, a representative randomly selected sample of 1020 employed adult Canadians was interviewed. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within +/- 3.1 percentage points, 95 per cent of the time, of what they would have been had the entire adult Canadian working population been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to Census information. Please visit www.ipsos.ca for full tabular results.

Harris Interactive - International

Harris Interactive® fielded the online survey on behalf of Expedia.com between March 30 and April 7, 2006 among nationwide cross-sections of 2,327 adults aged 18+ in the United States, 1,905 adults aged 16+ in Great Britain, 2,197 adults aged 16+ in France, 2,094 adults aged 16+ in Germany, and 1,031 adults aged 16+ in Australia. The European data were weighted to be representative of the total adult populations of each country on the basis of region, age, sex, education, income and propensity to be online. The U.S. data were weighted to be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, race/ethnicity and propensity to be online.

In theory, with probability samples of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the results for the English, French and German samples have a sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points and sampling error for the U.S. and Australian samples is plus or minus 3 percentage points. Sampling error for the following sub-sample results: U.S. employed adults (1,491), British employed adults (1,267), French employed adults (1,343), German employed adults (1,329), and Australian employed adults (686) is higher and varies. This online sample is not a probability sample.

About Expedia.ca

Expedia Canada Corp., a subsidiary of Expedia, Inc., operates Canada's most visited full-service online travel service, Expedia.ca. To help Canadians plan and purchase travel, Expedia.ca provides the best combination of scheduled and charter flights, car and hotel reservations, vacation packages, destination activities, trip insurance and mapping information. Expedia.ca customers are supported by customer support agents available 24 hours a day, seven days a week via a toll-free number and email response.

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