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Nearly half of Canadian workers not using vacation time: survey

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4. Adhere to the ‘Rule of Full.’

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4. Adhere to the ‘Rule of Full.’-
4. Adhere to the ‘Rule of Full.’ Expedia’s International Vacation Deprivation survey reveals that American workers, on average, leave three of their precious 13 vacation days on the table. In fact, men (12 percent) are more likely to take a full two-week vacation than women (8 percent). Don’t be stingy with yourself. Instead of taking a half-day off, take a full one or even a full week. Focus completely on relaxing activities such as a swing in the hammock or a leisurely stroll through the park. Be sure to turn off your gadgets, at least for a time, to be present to your external surroundings.

The summer is no time to take vacation for Ujwal Desai. The manager of multiple La Prep locations is too busy catering to summer tourists for any time off.

When business slows down at his Toronto-based soup, salad and sandwich shops in the fall, Desai hires temporary staff to cover for him while he vacations with his wife in India.

But that vacation time is not guaranteed, and like many Canadians, Desai is forced to balance work obligations with financial variables that can sometimes cut his downtime short.

“It all depends on how you did last year, if you did well last year you can have more money to hire more people and take the time to rest,” Desai told Yahoo Canada Finance. “If it is really good business I’ll take time off  -- like a couple of months in a year --  if not, I will work more; even long weekends.”

Desai is part of a growing trend in the Canadian workforce that's seeing more employees forgoing the all-important vacation time in favour of logging more hours at the office.

Four-in-10 Canadians (43 per cent) say they don't take their full allotment of annual vacation time, according to a recent survey conducted by Environics Research Group commissioned by TD Canada Trust.

A busy work schedule, last-minute complications on the job and copious amount of planning were all listed as reasons for the lack of vacation time.  Cost is obviously a determining factor, with two in five Canadians saying they simple can't afford to take time off and travel.

Not only are working Canadians not taking the vacation they're given, but it seems we have very little downtime to begin with compared to our global neighbours.

Canada was found to be among the “least generous” when it comes to paid vacation and holidays in comparison to other advanced industrialized economies,  according to a report from the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Canada mandates at least 10 days of paid vacation and nine statutory holidays, which is a far cry from the 35 paid days off given in Austria and Portugal. Germany and Spain offer workers 34 paid days off per year, while in France and Italy, workers can take 31 days.

Things could be much worse. You could be working in the U.S.

“The United States is the only advanced economy that does not guarantee its workers any paid vacation time and is one of only a few rich countries that does not require employers to offer at least some paid holidays,” the report states.

What employers in the U.S. may fail to realize is that vacation time can actually lead to a more productive workforce.

“I would compare it to a car engine, you can rev it and rev it but it needs maintenance,” says Beverly Beuermann-King, an Ontario-based stress and wellness specialist.

The pressures associated with work stress can lead to multiple health issues if not resolved, including headaches, sleeping issues and gastrointestinal issues, each effecting your workplace productivity she adds.

With a little planning,  a vacation can easily fit into anyone's personal budget without increasing debt or jeopardizing your financial security.

Hellen Buttigieg, a life coach, provided this advice: if you see the value in taking a vacation, you can budget by managing your discretionary spending. You can do that by saving a few dollars and not purchasing that cup of coffee while on your way to work.

“Short term loss, for long term gain,” she says.