Are Vacations History? Employee Benefits in Today's Economy.

Karen Quigley

With the rising cost of gas, food, and just about everything else, the consensus seems to be that employees will no longer be able to afford vacations. So should we continue to offer vacation employee benefits?

The original intent of a vacation benefit was to provide employees time away from work as well as time for family vacations. Remember how we all looked forward to the family vacation when we were growing up? As our parents were driving,we were stacked in the back seat…chirping:

"How much longer?"

"I need to go to the bathroom!"

"Johnny hit me!"

"Sally looked at me!" Ah, the memories! Sure, we laugh about them now. That is the point: vacations create memories that last for a lifetime. No stress. Just laughter.

Today, it seems vacation benefits are offered to attract and retain employees and have become an expected employee benefit. Can you imagine the reaction of a potential employee when you explain that your company does not offer vacation?

The truth is, employees want vacation benefits and employers can actually get a return on employee benefit dollars spent. Unlike health, life and disability benefits, there is no additional claims cost when an employee takes a vacation. In fact, the company wins when its employees take vacations! Vacations produce healthier employees by improving morale, creativity and productivity.

Employers can capture the ROI on dollars spent for vacation benefits by promoting them at the same level as other plans. They may also provide a program for employees to save money when they do take vacations. Most companies provide networks/partner programs for health, prescription, dental, vision and wellness plans to help employees reduce their costs. Why not offer the same option to help employees when they use their vacation benefits?

Imagine how the same key prospect will react when you say, "Yes, our company strives for a work/life balance and we do provide vacation benefits. In fact, we provide an additional program that allows you to take your vacations at wholesale prices."

They may be much more likely to reply, "When can I start?" And just think about the reactions of your current employees. You might even catch them smiling at a benefits meeting!

Are vacations history? No. Our lives are busy, complicated and more stressed out than ever before. Vacations are the original wellness program. Now is the time to promote vacation employee benefits and start getting a return on your dollars in the form of happier, healthier and more productive employees.