Vacation Deprivation Trends Worsening

Posted on: Tuesday, November 17th, 2009
Posted in: HR FYI, Blog | Leave a comment


photo by Kirk Horsted

It’s November, a month when few people vacation (turkey gobbling notwithstanding).  That’s understandable; it’s the grayest month of the year–and a prelude to the impending holiday frenzy.  But what is NOT understandable is that Americans set a new record last year by letting 436 million days of vacation days go UNUSED.*  What’s that worth?  A $19.3 billion kickback to employers.  Help!

That’s the bad (make that pitiful) news.  But it’s doubly disgusting given that American employees receive, on average, fewer vacation days (13) than any other developed nation.  Yet we can’t find a way to use it all—shorting ourselves by an average of 3 days that we’re due.  What’s wrong with us, and this picture!?!

Expedia sells vacations—and thus have an obvious motive for taking up the cause of Vacation Deprivation.  But their findings get support from many other sources, including the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Perhaps from you too?

  • Take your time to live–LONGER

Vacations are fun, sure.  But they’re also good for you.  Yep, a 2000 study of nearly 13,000 men showed that taking regular vacations lowered their risk of DEATH by 20%.  Meanwhile, Expedia confirms that people come back from vacations feeling more relaxed, better about their work and more connected to their family.

I dunno, but it seems like realizing a BreakAway of any size or shape is a slam-dunk win/win/win.  Death may be the ultimate getaway.  But The Unknowns make even an treacherous earthly vacation look like breath of fresh air.

In hopes that you can resist being a member of the Deadbeat Club, here are just 5 more noteworthy findings from the Expedia research

  • The percentage of workers who don’t use all their time grew from 31% in 2008 to 34% in 2009.
  • 44% of men report working more than 40 hours a week, compared to 29% of women.
  • 30% state they suffer stress from work-related interruptions during vacation.
  • Only 10% plan to take a 2-week vacation (in 2009).
  • Shorter vacations continue to gain in popularity, and are now sometimes called “Breakations.”  (Love it—and thanks for the tie-in!)

Bottom line:  Live (and vacate) while you can!

* U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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