Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Are Americans afraid to take vacations?

Researchers looked into the staggering amount of unused vacation time accumulated by the American workforce, and the numbers are shocking to say the least:
Last year, the number of unused vacation days in the US reached a 40-year high . Researchers at Oxford Economics hired by the US Travel Association put the numbers at about 169m days, equivalent to $52.4bn in lost benefits. 
The main culprit? America’s workaholic culture. It’s not that Americans do not want a vacation – it’s that they are afraid to take it. Currently, on average, each US worker fails to use about five paid vacation days a year. 
As unused vacation days reach a record high, a number of employers are trying to take a different approach to paid vacations, helping create a movement for employees to reclaim their personal time. 
Despite the shift to empower workers to take their vacation, many still feel guilty about it, drag their feet and then struggle to schedule time off at the last minute. 
[...] In 2012, only about 77% of Americans working for privately owned companies got paid vacation days. On average, their allotted paid time off was 10 to 14 days. 
More than half of Americans, 56%, have not taken a vacation in the last year, according to the insurance company Allianz Global Assistance . That’s equivalent to 135 million people. The survey defined vacation as a week off from work during which those surveyed travelled at least 100 miles away from home. 
Another survey of 1,005 Americans , conducted last year by Skift, found that just 15% of Americans planned to take a real vacation in 2014. That same survey found that 33% of Americans couldn’t afford a vacation, 30% were too busy and that 22% were going to take a short vacation over a summer weekend. 
“The statistics are pretty alarming – 41% of Americans don’t take their paid time off,” said Cheryl Rosner, CEO and co-founder of Stayful, a travel booking site for boutique hotels, referring to the US Travel Association survey. 
“That doesn’t surprise me at all. We’re taught to work until we drop,” said Femia. “I doubt anybody who isn’t using them is doing it for spite or malice. It’s probably because their company is discouraging them from using them or because they feel like they’ll fall behind in their workplace if they do.” 
Last year, the US Travel Association found that 28% of workers did not take vacation so that they could prove their dedication and not be seen as slackers. Another 40% were afraid of the work they’d have to do when they got back from vacation. 
[...] “This fear is especially prevalent at a time of volatile change in the economy as we have experienced since 2008,” he explained. 
“Secondly, without backups, many workers feel that too much work will pile up while they are are gone and they will be so stressed when they return that time off won’t be worth it.” 
[...] “The United States has never indicated that as a country we take vacation time seriously. We are the only industrial country that does not mandate vacation days and 25% of our workers receive none of them all,” De Graaf said.
Full article here.

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