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Work/life balance with only two weeks holiday

Work/life balance with only two weeks holiday

Old Apr 16th 2018, 2:25 am
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Default Work/life balance with only two weeks holiday

One thing that's concerning us about life in Canada is the two weeks holiday. Compared to other countries, Canada has a very low annual leave, 2 weeks being the norm, along with a small handful of public holidays. This leave appears to only be applied AFTER you have worked for a year.

My question is, how do people manage? Living in a beautiful country, how do you find time to explore, take up hobbies, visit your home country? Not to mention we're not getting any younger Canada comes out in polls as having a really good quality of life but nothing in the working side of that appears to benefit the average working person
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Old Apr 16th 2018, 2:34 am
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Default Re: Work/life balance with only two weeks holiday

It sucks. To make it work, I work part time OH takes unpaid vacation. Where he works the vacation amounts are banked, he can chose when it's paid out.
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Old Apr 16th 2018, 2:48 am
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Default Re: Work/life balance with only two weeks holiday

I know people with government jobs who seem to earn holiday time by working longer hours meaning their 2 weeks turns into 5 or more weeks.
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Old Apr 16th 2018, 2:57 am
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Default Re: Work/life balance with only two weeks holiday

If you have to work overtime, some places allow you to bank the extra hours in lieu of getting a payout ............... overtime pay is often normal pay + 50% or 100%, and allowing you to bank the hours can workout cheaper.

Of course, some places don't pay overtime, just expect you to work.


But in fact, the 2 weeks is bolstered by up to 12 Stat or provincial holidays, giving you between 9 and 11 long weekends in addition to the 2 weeks.

Yes, you have to work 1 year before you are eligible for the 2 week vacation, that's standard in the whole of North America.


Not sure why you all get so worried about it ............. you're moving to a country with different ways to the one you're looking at leaving. You adapt. It doesn't kill you!
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Old Apr 16th 2018, 3:39 am
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Default Re: Work/life balance with only two weeks holiday

I managed to live 43 years in Canada, working for 28 of those years with only 2 weeks holiday and survived just fine.
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Old Apr 16th 2018, 4:59 am
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Default Re: Work/life balance with only two weeks holiday

Two weeks is presumably the minimum? I started with three weeks, and now I'm on four. Plus I typically do a few days' overtime a month, so I could take off another few weeks a year if I took that as vacation time instead of pay.
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Old Apr 16th 2018, 5:34 am
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Default Re: Work/life balance with only two weeks holiday

10 days is the minimum in BC, some employers are more generous then others.

My employer provides the minimum required paid, but they do allow more time off unpaid pending operational need. We have people who take 4-5 weeks off to visit their home countries, of course most is not paid.

I am in an industry that operates 20 hours a day, 7 days a week, so we don't get stat holidays off unless they fall on regular day off so for me, those days don't mean anything.

I work 50 weeks a year, and typically take my time off in one block in January.


Originally Posted by scilly View Post
If you have to work overtime, some places allow you to bank the extra hours in lieu of getting a payout ............... overtime pay is often normal pay + 50% or 100%, and allowing you to bank the hours can workout cheaper.

Of course, some places don't pay overtime, just expect you to work.


But in fact, the 2 weeks is bolstered by up to 12 Stat or provincial holidays, giving you between 9 and 11 long weekends in addition to the 2 weeks.

Yes, you have to work 1 year before you are eligible for the 2 week vacation, that's standard in the whole of North America.


Not sure why you all get so worried about it ............. you're moving to a country with different ways to the one you're looking at leaving. You adapt. It doesn't kill you!
Bold bit- Assuming one is in a profession that gets stat holidays off, there are a lot of professions/jobs that don't get stat holidays off and thus no long weekends.

Last edited by scrubbedexpat091; Apr 16th 2018 at 5:38 am.
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Old Apr 16th 2018, 9:28 am
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Default Re: Work/life balance with only two weeks holiday

Originally Posted by BlueScottyGirl View Post
One thing that's concerning us about life in Canada is the two weeks holiday. Compared to other countries, Canada has a very low annual leave, 2 weeks being the norm, along with a small handful of public holidays. This leave appears to only be applied AFTER you have worked for a year.

My question is, how do people manage? Living in a beautiful country, how do you find time to explore, take up hobbies, visit your home country? Not to mention we're not getting any younger Canada comes out in polls as having a really good quality of life but nothing in the working side of that appears to benefit the average working person
Forget polls and quality of life surveys, as it's your life. People who only ever got 2 weeks holidays, just live with it and they don't know any different. If it's a worry, you might want to recosider a move.


It's all about location too. If you look at the size of Canada, it's nearly as big as the whole of Europe. So living in a beatiful country, doesn't mean you'll experience all the beauty. I would consider Europe beautiful too, but you would probably never think of comparing Split (Croatia) to Oslo (Norway), although it would nearly be the same distance from Winnipeg to Montreal.
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Old Apr 16th 2018, 10:43 am
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Default Re: Work/life balance with only two weeks holiday

Originally Posted by BlueScottyGirl View Post
My question is, how do people manage? Living in a beautiful country, how do you find time to explore, take up hobbies, visit your home country?
People living in Canada do not usually see Canada. They use half their vacation time to visit an all inclusive resort in Cuba or the DR and the rest taking kids to doctors.
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Old Apr 16th 2018, 11:19 am
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Default Re: Work/life balance with only two weeks holiday

It also depends on your employer. Typical in the transport industry is that they pay you a % into a vacation pay pot. I can take as much as I want (within reason :P) however if I use up my vacation pay then its unpaid. I take average 4-5 weeks a year. I do some extra shifts and dont mind working bank holidays etc as its extra pay and as such pumps up my vacation pot for when I do want to take it.

Also it depends on when you work. I work a shift rotation pattern. I do MT FSS last week and WT this week so 7 days every 2 weeks.

Last edited by Alex2201; Apr 16th 2018 at 12:15 pm.
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Old Apr 16th 2018, 11:47 am
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Default Re: Work/life balance with only two weeks holiday

Originally Posted by scilly View Post
Yes, you have to work 1 year before you are eligible for the 2 week vacation, that's standard in the whole of North America.
It may be a standard, but not necessarily the norm. Many places - my own employer included - start people off on 3 weeks and it's possible to work accrual of vacation time such that you do get some time off in the first year.

It is a general truism that vacation allowances are less in North America than the UK. Exact amount you get plus flexibility in work hours and situation will depend very much on your position, employer, industry etc.

I've always had 4 weeks vacation. I currently get that plus 3 family days, a free day for my birthday & time off for volunteering should I so choose. YMMV as ever.
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Old Apr 16th 2018, 1:21 pm
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Default Re: Work/life balance with only two weeks holiday

Originally Posted by scilly View Post
But in fact, the 2 weeks is bolstered by up to 12 Stat or provincial holidays.
While this is true, the 4, 5 or 6 weeks typical in the UK is also bolstered by at least 8 bank/xmas holidays
Not sure why you all get so worried about it ............. you're moving to a country with different ways to the one you're looking at leaving. You adapt. It doesn't kill you!
If I were moving from a job with at least 4 weeks holiday to one with only 2 weeks I'd be looking for some very large advantages to compensate.

North Americans do seem to make more of their weekends though, even though they don't have Europe to pop over to for a couple of days.

Originally Posted by Jsmth321 View Post
10 days is the minimum in BC, some employers are more generous then others
And quite a few folk on BE do get something approaching what they got in the UK, so in demand are they, but it's obviously not the norm for Canada.

Me, I get 52 weeks off.
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Old Apr 16th 2018, 2:34 pm
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Default Re: Work/life balance with only two weeks holiday

Originally Posted by Atlantic Xpat View Post
It may be a standard, but not necessarily the norm. Many places - my own employer included - start people off on 3 weeks and it's possible to work accrual of vacation time such that you do get some time off in the first year.

It is a general truism that vacation allowances are less in North America than the UK. Exact amount you get plus flexibility in work hours and situation will depend very much on your position, employer, industry etc.

I've always had 4 weeks vacation. I currently get that plus 3 family days, a free day for my birthday & time off for volunteering should I so choose. YMMV as ever.
This mirrors my experience. my company starts off with 3 weeks holiday (pro-rated to the start date) but available after a 3 month probationary period. After 10 years service you gain an additional week (4 weeks in total). In BC this is typically bolstered by 10 stat holidays. In my company you may have to work a stat but you get the day back as an additional vacation day or overtime paid at x1.5.

I find, at least in Vancouver, people make much more use of their weekends and evenings. Many of my collogues will come into office early and leave early to go skiing or biking.
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Old Apr 16th 2018, 2:57 pm
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Default Re: Work/life balance with only two weeks holiday

Professionals in non union jobs tend to have more room to negotiate.

For lowly workers like me its a take or leave it situation. Same with pay take it or leave it.

Days off are the only days I can do abything. No time after work.

Its get home, get ready for the next day, eat a light dinner and in bed by 6p. Lol


Originally Posted by BristolUK View Post
While this is true, the 4, 5 or 6 weeks typical in the UK is also bolstered by at least 8 bank/xmas holidays

If I were moving from a job with at least 4 weeks holiday to one with only 2 weeks I'd be looking for some very large advantages to compensate.

North Americans do seem to make more of their weekends though, even though they don't have Europe to pop over to for a couple of days.


And quite a few folk on BE do get something approaching what they got in the UK, so in demand are they, but it's obviously not the norm for Canada.

Me, I get 52 weeks off.

Last edited by scrubbedexpat091; Apr 16th 2018 at 3:00 pm.
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Old Apr 16th 2018, 3:05 pm
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Default Re: Work/life balance with only two weeks holiday

Originally Posted by Jsmth321 View Post
Professionals in non union jobs tend to have more room to negotiate.

For lowly workers like me its a take or leave it situation. Same with pay take it or leave it.

Days off are the only days I can do abything. No time after work.

Its get home, get ready for the next day, eat a light dinner and in bed by 6p. Lol
Tue and depending where you are in Canada, days off might be spent cutting wood for the next long winter.
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