Employment Law

How to Take a Vacation Without Travelling Abroad

By Damien Lacey on June, 9 2020
4 minute read

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Damien Lacey

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The pandemic disrupted many areas of business. One such area is vacations. The idea of a sunny holiday in Mexico is right now a faraway dream. As a result, employees are not taking their vacation days, delaying until travel restrictions are lifted and the risk of travelling is reduced. 


Not taking vacations, however, leads to burnout and fatigue. By now many employees would be planning their trips and daydreaming of their time off. Instead, an already stressful situation is made worse by the lack of respite in sight. 

The challenge for employers is to figure out how to manage the following scenarios with their workforce. The reluctance of employees to take time off when their travel plans are cancelled, and the necessity of having an extended break from work.


The Benefits of Taking A Break


It is hardly necessary to spend much time explaining the benefits of a vacation. The joys of travelling to new destinations, perhaps experiencing new cultures, good weather, and time away from the office are self-evident. However, many of the benefits of taking time off from work are true whether an employee travels to a foreign beach or stays in town. 

Encourage your employees to enjoy the freedom of an empty schedule. Unburden their mind of mentally preparing for meetings and planning out the next day. We all forget from time to time that there is more to life than our daily routines. This can be especially true when forced to work from home for months at a time. Allowing employees the time and space to get away from work and the duties it brings can provide a much needed period of destressing. 


Employment law about vacation time

Vacation time is currently one of the most talked about issues amongst businesses owners and HR personnel. Can employers force staff to take vacation time? Can their vacation days be carried over into the following year? What if an employee refuses to take employer-mandated vacation time?

Employers have certain rights when it comes to their employees' vacations, especially when it comes to their scheduling. The employment contract often sets out your company's vacation policy. Review that section of the document carefully for details on vacation scheduling. Unless the employee is given the right to choose their vacation time in the policy, then yes, employers can force workers to take vacation during a certain period of time. If an employee doesn't take their allotted amount of vacation days, the employer may still be on the hook to pay vacation time by year end. Consult with a lawyer about the employment law in your province.

While companies cannot decide where employees may travel during their vacation, they can advise them not to travel to certain high risk locations and to check travel advisories using up-to- date information and recommendations from public health authorities. The decision where to travel ultimately lies within the employees hands, though they should be aware that certain travel destinations may require them to self isolate for 14-days upon return. Also, if an individual has already sought and obtained approval to take a vacation and are being asked to cancel that vacation, employers could be liable to compensate them for any cancellation and/or rebooking fees incurred.


Holiday Options in BC & Canada


British Columbia and Canada have endless destinations worth exploring. Instead of a trip abroad, employers can encourage employees to take vacations within the country.  Your employees may thank you for a suggestion that led to their best trip ever.


With employers facing issues around vacation time and planning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we suggest that it is a great idea to encourage employees to vacation within their home country for 2020. Consider allowing them to carry over some vacation days to next year as added incentive. Do try to be fair  and as accommodating as possible.    Employees will respect and appreciate you more as an employer when they know you have their best interests at heart.  

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