Vacation: FSA Eligibility
Why does vacation matter?
Vacation is not only fun and exciting, but can also boost health and provide a lot of physical and psychological benefits. While many Americans would happily take time off from work, the average U.S. employee doesn't use up all of his or her eligible vacation time.
Many are aware of the differences in vacation time afforded in Europe versus in America. Europeans understand that breaks improve workplace efficiency. We have the misconception that more hours will always increase output, while ignoring the clear evidence that the secret to being an effective worker is not working too hard.
How does vacation affect health?
A study found that men who take frequent annual vacations were 21 percent less likely to die from any cause and were 32 percent more likely to die from heart disease. Women who took a vacation only once every six years or less were almost eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack compared to women who vacationed at least twice a year. They are also more likely to suffer from depression and increased stress.
The benefits of vacationing also extended to lower blood pressure and smaller waistlines. A study conducted by the American Psychological Association concluded that vacations reduce stress by removing people from activities and environments that tend to be sources of stress (CNN).
How does vacation affect productivity?
Human attention is limited and overtime binges lead to bursts of output that exert a hangover effect in later days. Short periods of attention interspersed with equally deliberate breaks are the optimum way to harness our full capacity to be productive. Just as small breaks improve concentration, long breaks replenish job performance.
Numerous studies have also shown that productivity turns sharply negative as we move beyond 40 hour weeks. Even taking a 24 hour break will allow most people to have better life perspective and increase their motivation to achieve their goals after the vacation. The bottom line is that breaks are better for our brains than overtime.
Vacation is not eligible for reimbursement because it is considered a general health expense.