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back to index backGLOBALtalk August,  2006


Vacation Deprivation Among American Workers is at an All Time High

One third of Americans do not always take all of their vacation days, despite more than one-third (36 percent) reporting that they feel better about their job and more productive upon returning from vacation.

"Vacation deprivation in America is at an all-time high," says Sally McKenzie, vice president and general manager, Expedia.com. "There are incredible health and wellness benefits associated with time off from work. Americans should take a cue from their foreign counterparts and relish the vacation they earn."

This year, Expedia.com analyzed vacation habits among employed workers in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Germany, France and Australia. Compared to other countries included in the survey, Americans receive the fewest vacation days per year on average (14 days), compared to 17 days in Australia, 19 days in Canada, 24 days in Great Britain, 27 days in Germany and 39 days in France.

* France once again wins the distinction for taking and receiving the most vacation days out of those countries surveyed. Employed adults in France receive an average of 39 days of vacation each year, with two in five (40 percent) taking a three- to four-week vacation during the summer holidays, compared to the one-week getaway that two in five (40 percent) Americans take.

* Germans are vacation lovers too, with the average employed adult using 26 of their 27 vacation days, placing vacation as a priority over work (72 percent say they have not cancelled or postponed vacation plans in the past due to work), and investing in their vacations (51 percent feel that a good performance to price ratio is far more important than just buying the vacation at the lowest price).

* Australians also value their time away from work. About two in five (39 percent) employed Australian adults anticipate using most of their vacation time by taking at least one vacation lasting up to two full weeks, compared to the one-week getaway that 40 percent of Americans take.

* Like many workers, Canadians benefit greatly from their vacation time. 44 percent of employed Canadian adults reported feeling better about their jobs and feeling more productive upon returning from vacation, while 55 percent say they feel rested, rejuvenated and reconnected to their personal life.

Throughout the six years that Expedia.com has conducted the Vacation Deprivation survey, the U.S. has long-held the dismaying distinction of being the country with the worst vacationing habits.

The label has become even more pronounced this year, with employed workers in the United States leaving an extra day of vacation on the table in 2006 (4 days in 2006 versus 3 days in 2005) despite showing an increase in average vacation days received (14 days in 2006 versus 12 days in 2005). In addition, many U.S. adults also responded that they've cancelled or postponed vacation plans because of work (19 percent).

Meanwhile, over a third of employed U.S. adults (38 percent) report regularly working more than 40 hours per week. This trend of overworked and vacation-deprived workers in America is both unfortunate, and in many ways, unsustainable.

Source: Great Lakes HR NowGAI


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