2013 summer vacation: Quebec workers stressed out as vacation time approaches

According to an annual CROP-CHRA survey on vacations, conducted on behalf of the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés, this year Quebec workers plan to take an average of 2.3 weeks summer vacation, from May to September inclusively.  

High pre-vacation stress levels
Some 40% of survey respondents reported experiencing high or very high stress levels as vacation time approaches. Women seem to be more affected than men in this respect, with close to one out of two female workers claiming to be very stressed, versus 32% of their male counterparts.  

Although some workers and employers still question the benefits of an annual break, a strong majority of respondents (88%) estimated their post-vacation stress levels to be between low and moderate. “For several years now, the Ordre and a number of other experts in the world of work and healthcare have been repeating the message that vacations are crucial for workers to enjoy some downtime and recharge their batteries ‒ as the survey results clearly confirm! However, once again this year, 25% of respondents said they’ll be taking one week or less vacation time. And yet at least two weeks break from the traditional daily grind is beneficial both for employees’ psychological balance and for organizations’ overall performance,” commented Florent Francoeur, CHRP, Ordre President and CEO.   

Summer vacations a priority for young workers
Workers between age 18 and 34 take the most vacation time; 71% of respondents in this category intend to take two weeks or more, compared to only 6% who won’t take any time off this summer. The situation differs for older workers (aged 55 and over), 18% of whom don’t plan to take any vacation at all.

Overall, seven out of ten Quebec employees will take vacations of two weeks or more in 2013. In fact, this trend has remained stable since the survey was first conducted in 2010, as the following table indicates.

Number of weeks vacation for Quebec workers
(2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013)

2010 2011 2012 2013
None 8% 12% 9% 9%
Less than one week 12% 3% 3% 5%
One week 10% 10 % 14% 11%
Two weeks 35% 35% 35% 35%
Three weeks 14% 19% 23% 19%
Four weeks 10% 11% 7% 9%
More than four weeks 9% 7% 5% 8%
Don't know 3% 4% 3% 4%

Once again this year, a high percentage of workers (46%) indicated that their vacation time won’t be enough for them to top up their energy levels. “This figure re-opens the debate on the number of weeks vacation employees are entitled to in Quebec and the rest of Canada in comparison to other countries. I’m thinking particularly of European Union countries like France, for instance, where workers are entitled to at least five weeks vacation a year. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to remind employees of the importance of leaving their work and routine behind once their vacation starts so that they can truly reap the benefits of this break,” concluded mister Francoeur. 

To learn more
Click here for the complete results of the CROP-CHRA survey (in French only).