Abstract The purpose of the present study was to test the hypothesis that vacation relief decreases psychological and behavioral strains caused by job stressors. We examined the impact of job stress and vacation on strain on 87 blue-collar employees in an industrial enterprise in central Israel. Whereas former respite research focused on the impact of vacation only on psychological strains such as burnout and job and life satisfaction, the current study also examined a behavioral strain, absenteeism. The employees completed questionnaires before and after vacation and again four weeks later. Our findings show that vacation alleviated perceived job stress and bumout as predicted, replicating findings that a respite from work diminishes levels of strain to lower than chronic, on-the-job levels. We found declines in burnout immediately after the vacation and a return to prevacation levels four weeks later, and a similar pattern with regard to absenteeism.