Americans don't use vacation days
Why will US workers give up $34.3 billion in annual paid vacation time -- or 226 million days off -- this year?
Most American workers will forfeit two of their paid vacation days in 2011 -- just as they did last year, according to an annual survey from Expedia.com.
Given that the average full-time U.S. employee makes $39,416 per year, those unused days -- 226 million nationwide -- add up to $34.3 billion, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The Vacation Deprivation online survey (.pdf file), conducted in September and October by Harris Interactive for Expedia, polled 7,083 employed adults in 20 countries in North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia.
The results showed that Americans, who receive an average of just 14 paid days off per year, are already "vacation deprived," as are other residents of North America (Canada and Mexico), as well as those in Singapore, Japan and South Korea.
"Vacation-rich" countries include the European nations of Germany, France, Spain and Denmark, as well as Brazil, where workers earn an average of 30 days of vacation per year.
In Singapore, workers also get only 14 days of paid vacation but don't let any of them go to waste. Others who don't waste vacation days are workers in Brazil, Denmark, France, Spain, Sweden and the UK, according to the survey. Post continues below.Expedia began its annual analysis of American vacation habits in 2001, and in 2005 expanded it to compare trends internationally.
Why don't we use our vacation time?
The top reason Americans gave for not taking vacation time was money (34%), followed by poor advance planning (15%) and the statement "work is my life" (15%).
"Now that companies are doing more with less, people have a hard time taking vacation because there's so much work to do," Jennie Dede, vice president of recruiting for job placement firm Adecco, told the Chicago Tribune.
Interestingly, the Expedia survey found that although 20% of workers in India gave "may be perceived negatively at work" as a reason for not using all of their vacation time, only 6% of American workers listed that reason, and 73% said their bosses encouraged employees to take time off. (In Italy, 32% of workers said their bosses were not supportive of doing so.)
Even more alarming studies
A separate study, by Hotwire, found that the average American worker doesn't use 6.2 days of paid vacation time each year.
Another survey, this one from JetBlue, painted an even more alarming picture, indicating that most Americans will give up an average of 11 days of paid time off this year. That's more than two full weeks.
The JetBlue survey, also conducted by Harris Interactive, found that 57% of American workers will have unused vacation at the end of the year, with 39% of respondents having reservations about asking their bosses for time off.
What about you? Will you use all of your paid vacation time this year? If not, why not?
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That's the problem with this country, work, work, work! It's a wonder why so many people are stressed and depressed, and in poor health, because they are not taking time for themselves. It’s not just the obesity problem this country has, but too many people are working too many hours! I’m sure we all appreciate a hard worker but there are so many people who don't know what work/life balance is. I work for a large corporation and they offer paid time off in addition to 3 weeks of vacation (you have more paid vacation days depending on length of service). You best believe I take ALL my vacation days, and sometimes I purchase a few more days off. You need that break from work! Life is too short to stress over work!! We understand that a lot of companies are downsizing, cutting back, etc, because of the economic conditions, but in no way that should mean someone should give up vacation or not take time off because of things you can't control! (economic conditions, company issues, etc). Be grateful you have a job yes, and do the best that you can at it, but remember you have a life, take time for yourself and your family! You will appreciate it and your family will! It will make you very relaxed when you go back to work!
If you own your own business, now it's understandable that you cannot take vacation days, depending on what kind of business you have. Live life people! Your body, mind and soul will appreciate some time off every once in a while! This country needs to adopt ‘Siestas”..like Spain : )
"Work is my life."????
I have heard too many people saying stuff like this. Work is NOT my life. Work is how I pay for my life.
Work like the devil, never take a day off, pop a vein and have a stroke. Everyone feels sorry for you, but you are replaced and life moves on without you. Everyone says "you should have taken your time off."
Take your time off (that was given to you by the company), return to work, find yourself replaced or downgraded, complain about it and get fired or forced to quit. Everyone says "you should have been more careful in this economy."
Choices. Responsibility. Crap shoot. Guesswork. Health. Peace of mind.
How did it all get this crazy? I do not know.
I take my time off for a change of pace and to feel refreshed, but also realize others cannot or will not dare to take time. The workplace is a battlefield with potentially hidden land mines for no reasons whatsoever.
Good luck to all as I have no answers and am not qualified to give advice.
I think that somewhere between the workaholics here in the States and the layabouts in Europe there's a happy medium as far as the amount of vacation time.
Truth is ... everyone is replaceable. Learned that back in the '80s. Company 'disloyalty' did NOT begin with the babyboomers as one poster mistakenly stated. It began with the Companies' 'mass layoffs' back in the early '80s. Go read a book or something. Vacation ? Damned right I use it. I 'earned' it. Saving it for a 'cushion' doesn't make any sense to me. I have savings accounts for that. Vacations are for refreshing one's self and 'living' life. Get away from the everyday grind and be slothful for a week.
I used to leave vacation days on the table, but never again. I work for an old-fashioned southern company (and I'm NOT southern) who bend over backwards to let the married guys with children take their vacation at peak periods. Last year upper management also granted 2 extra weeks of vacation days to a co-worker because his wife went to prison for embezzlement and he wanted to spend more time with his kids. He also showed up late and left early nearly every day because he was upset about his wife and didn't feel like working. Because I'm a single woman with no children, I was expected to pick up all of his slack and forfeit my vacation time since, you know, I have nothing better to do than work.
This year, I'm using every single one of the 20 vacation days I've been granted, and I'm not touching the slacker co-worker with the jailbird wife's files.
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