Americans Don’t Use Measly Vacation Time
Not only did American workers receive fewer vacation days from their bosses this year, but they also took less of them off.
U.S. workers received an average of 12 vacation days in 2012, down from 14 in 2011, according to an annual survey of almost 8,700 people from 22 countries commissioned by Expedia. And, of those vacation days, they only took 10 of them off.
Overworked Americans can place some of the blame on the economy. Jobs are coming back, but many people are returning to work in a new position or another career entirely, and less seniority often means less vacation time.
“People newly back in the work force are starting at the front end of that vacation accumulation,” says Sarah Keeling, Expedia’s director of communications. “If you look at the national economy and the history of jobs in the last few years that adds up and can shift a study like this.”
Europeans, on the other hand, have almost a full month of vacation — 25 to 30 days — and take almost every single day off available to them. (With the exception of Italians, which let 8 of their 25 vacation days slip away).
“In Europe [vacation time has been] part of national policy for so long they would really just not think of it another way,” Keeling says. “[In North America] it’s much less of a birthright and much more… optional.”
The only region working longer and harder than America was Asia. Asian workers took the smallest number of days off and put in the longest work weeks, at an average of 44 hours. While Japanese workers were granted 13 days off last year, they took less than half of them off. South Koreans only took seven of their allotted 10 vacation days.