One of the usual benefits of a regular employee is the vacation leaves. It can be around five for government employees but up to 15 in the private sector, depending on the company policy.
I remember a story about how their Australian counterparts would usually take weeks and even months away from work with no resistance from the management.
Unfortunately, here in the Philippines, instead of using more leaves, many employees don't use enough, with some people not even taking any vacation days at all. But why does that happen?
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Why Do Employees Don't Take Vacation Leaves?
There are many reasons why employees don't use their leave credits:
- They want to monetize their leaves. Some companies allow employees to monetize their remaining leave credits. For instance, in my previous company, we could monetize up to five of the 15 vacation leaves per fiscal year.
- Suppose you're new to a company, and you notice that most of your workmates are never taking vacation leaves. In that case, it can sometimes cause guilt when you take a few days off and feel you're replaceable. However, being replaceable is one of the hard truths of being an employee.
- They are overloaded with deadlines. If your calendar is filled with deadlines, taking time off may not feel right, especially if you're just prolonging the agony or leaving the work to others.
- Their boss didn't approve their leave. Since leaves are a privilege rather than a right, there will be times when your boss will veto your leave application. This is because companies will always prioritize business needs over employee satisfaction.
- They want to stack their leaves. Some company policies allow leaves to stack pile or to carry over to the next calendar or fiscal year. Then, they would use the leaves in one go, hoping it would be approved. On the other hand, in the Government, service credits are often saved up until their retirement.
- They want to show their dedication to the job. Some employees deliberately avoid taking time off because they want to show their commitment to the company, which will also be rooted in the fear of being replaceable.
Why You Should Spend All Your Vacation Leaves
- You're supposed to spend your Vacation Leave. Vacation leaves are a privilege and are supposed to be spent for vacation. If you're not using them, you're not maximizing your company benefits.
- To give yourself a rest. Vacation leaves are best used for rest and recreation. It's important to take some time off from your daily work routine and ease your mind and body.
- To boost your work-life balance. Though vacation leaves will not balance out the days you spent working, you are still taking back days for yourself.
- So you can explore other places. One of the best ways to spend vacation leave is to travel! If you strategically align your VLs with the upcoming long weekends, you can maximize your paid time off.
- To spend time with your family and friends. If you're working away from home, then use your vacations to return to your home province and reconnect with your friends and family at home.
- To celebrate a special event. Some companies have birthday leaves, while some do not. So, you can use your vacation leaves to celebrate your special day without having the burden of treating your workmates.
- To do anything you like. You can also use your PTO to try anything you like that is outside your normal work-home routine. You can attend seminars, learn a new skill, date your special someone, and many more.
Vacation leaves are an important part of a healthy work-life balance. However, if you're only motivation is a few off days per year, then you may be running in the rat race.
Remember that you work to live, not the other way around. Use your time off wisely to keep your body and mind in better shape.