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Why you should really use your vacation days

The human resource department wants you to take time off. Really.

The human resource department wants you to take time off. Really.

You may have trouble believing that, but a recent poll by the Society for Human Resource Management found strong support for vacations from personnel managers. They strongly believe that you will be a better worker if you occasionally unplug from the job, especially if you have paid time off coming to you.

The benefits to you: stress relief, improved morale, greater job satisfaction and engagement.

The benefits to the employer: higher productivity and better job performance.

As we near the end of the calendar year, it's common to hear workers complain that they have been too busy to take their allotted vacation. In do-more-with-less workplaces, it is indeed hard to take time off when the work needs to be done.

The human resource society figures that an average of at least three earned vacation days will be unused this year per employee – but not necessarily because workers were too busy to take a break.

Rather, survey results indicate that employees are saving vacation by choice in the organizations that allow them to roll over unused time to the next calendar year. About two-thirds of employers allow rollovers of at least some days, the society finds.

Employers with "use it or lose it" plans tend to find that employees don't leave vacation on the table. They use it.

Regardless of vacation policy, people who study employees' mental and physical welfare say taking time off is vital. It's a rare bird who can sustain focus, energy and enthusiasm without a break.

And that's one reason for concern about the growing part-time workforce – an employee class that largely doesn't get paid vacations and can't afford to take unpaid time off. No breaks make for unhappy, unhealthy workers and ill-served employers.



To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to Follow her online at and


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