American's Need More Vacation Time

American's Need More Vacation Time

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“I really need a vacation!”

Is there a more common phrase in the workplace in America today? I’m sure all of us had uttered that phrase at least once in the last 12 months. Americans are so vacation-deprived, then why is it that almost a third of the American working adults are giving up some earned vacation this year, and when they do go on vacation they still do some work by checking in with office communications, according to a Harris Interactive vacation-related poll?

The following table below indicates that the U.S. ranks 10th in term of average number of vacation days around the world per year, with the average of just 13 days per year compared to the United Kingdom’s 28, and Italy’s 42 days per year. Even the average worker in Japan – where the term karoshi, which means “death by overwork”, was coined gets five weeks of annual paid vacation.

Average Number of Vacation Days Around the World Per Year
Italy     42 days
France     37 days
Germany     35 days
Brazil     34 days
United Kingdom     28 days
Canada     26 days
Korea     25 days
Japan     25 days
U.S.     13 days

Source: World Tourism Organization (WTO).

We like to think that we’ve got the world’s highest standard of living with the per capita GDP of $37,800, 3rd highest in the world , and yet, we are the only industrialized nation that refuses to mandate vacation for workers in the private sector. And if you think we are making the most of those precious few days that we get, you couldn’t be more wrong. According to a study conducted in May 2004 by Harris Interactive, the average American planned not to use three of his or her vacation days this year, up from two days last year. The study also found that nearly 40 percent American said they had canceled or postponed vacations due to work.

So what’s the matter with us?

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We complained about us being vacation-deprived, but many of us don’t even use what little vacation time we get. According to the study, many of us felt that we simply had too much to do, while others were afraid that they would miss something important. What could be more important and more enjoyable than being able to take a little time off from work, and spend that vacation time pampering yourself or your love ones?
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