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Annual vacation 2021 : Why you should give more than 2 weeks

06 July 2021, par Équipe Thorens Chasseurs de têtes

It’s annual vacation time!

One by one, your employees take turns taking their two-week vacation. Whenever there’s one that comes back, the same phrase is heard: ‘It was too short’.

Are you familiar with this scenario? According to the CNESST, employees with 1 to 3 years of continuous service must have a minimum of 2 weeks of paid vacation. While employees with more than 3 years of seniority are entitled to 3 weeks annual vacation.

In Quebec, vacations are often taken in summer, during spring break and during the holiday season … As an employer, you may be telling yourself that your duty is accomplished if you comply with CNESST standards. But as an employee, it’s hard to take a vacation for 3 times a year with only 2 weeks of paid vacation.

Wouldn’t the solution be to give more vacations to your employees? Vacations are an inexpensive way to contribute to the well-being and retention of your employees.

We explain why this is a win-win solution!


Annual vacation contribute to the well-being of employees

The well-being of employees depends, among other things, on the working environment, autonomy, work-life balance, and social benefits, such as vacations.

This may seem trivial, but the quality of life at work is nevertheless a major issue in the country. Indeed, almost half of employees between 20 and 40 years old suffer or have suffered from mental health problems at work. These problems can cause absenteeism, dissatisfaction or poor performance. While paid time off tend to have the opposite effect …


The main benefits of a vacation: 

Decrease in accidents and absenteeism

Rested employees are less likely to have workplace accidents caused by stress or fatigue. They are also less likely to have to be absent due to physical or mental illness.

Increase of the retention rate

Having a quality of life at work, thanks to a generous vacation policy, increases satisfaction, motivation and employee engagement. The employees therefore stay longer in the company.

It’s a fact that having several days of vacation rhymes with well-being and quality of life at work. And this has a positive impact on employees but also on the business. Which brings us to the next point …


Annual vacation does not decrease performance

In addition to all of the benefits mentioned above, vacations do not diminish performance. Having 4 weeks of vacation rather than 2 does not negatively influence performance. On the contrary, employees who return from vacation perform better and are more creative, up to 1 month after their vacation.

Several studies have even shown that the countries which offer the most paid vacations are also the most productive. Countries like Luxembourg, Norway and Denmark are among the most productive countries according to Expert Market, but their employees work an average of 1,400 hours annually, compared to around 1,700 hours / year in Canada.

See the most productive countries ranked here. 

Also, from a financial standpoint, giving employees more weeks of vacation is an inexpensive way to improve corporate culture and employee satisfaction. And a vacation policy is much easier to set up than a happy hour or a ping pong tournament at the office …


Paid time off is a competitive advantage

While most employers give their new employees 2-3 weeks of vacation, offering more could definitely set you apart. In this time of labor shortage, one solution would be to go back to basics to attract new talent.

So there is no need to invent all kinds of unusual marketing strategies to entice candidates to apply. Showing that you care about the quality of life of your employees can make a big difference. Nowadays, candidates assess several aspects, such as total compensation, company culture, etc. before accepting an opportunity.


Other aspects to consider

When you think about how many weeks of annual vacation you want to offer your employees, also think about your vacation policy. It must be clear and precise, and must be communicated in advance to your employees.

  • Who can take a vacation when?
  • How long in advance should you notify your manager?
  • After how many years can you take X weeks of vacation?

Provide equitable measures, to make sure there isn’t a sense of injustice or even dissatisfaction among employees.

Check the CNESST website to make sure you comply with all standards.

When hiring a new employee, take seniority outside your company into account when determining the number of weeks of vacation. Especially if you are recruiting people who are already employed, through the services of headhunters. Indeed, a person who already has 4 weeks of vacation in his current job, is less likely to accept an offer including only 2 weeks of vacation. So be open to negotiating if you are actively recruiting.


Having a fair and generous vacation policy will allow you to keep your current employees, but also to attract new talent in this labor shortage.


Learn more about our headhunting services.