But many workers may find themselves unable to take vacations that they postponed: Salaried workers at both automakers ordinarily lose unused vacation days at the end of the year without compensation.

Other companies have taken steps that could defuse a potential human resources headache and, they say, benefit their work forces in difficult times.

Bank of America, which normally requires its U.S. employees to take all their vacation before the end of the year, said in June that it would allow them to push up to five days into the first quarter of 2021.

Citigroup has typically allowed its U.S. employees to carry vacation days into the first quarter of the next year, but in July it added an inducement: Employees receive an extra vacation day next year if they use all of their 2020 vacation time this year.