Why Are We a No Vacation Nation?
Our German, Japanese and Australian counterparts get four weeks off per year, guaranteed.
And Finns, Frenchmen and Brazilians get a whopping six weeks off, guaranteed.
The reason why? Their governments mandate paid time off by law.
How much do we Americans get off per year? A shamefully under-used two weeks off per year.
That means the U.S. is the only advanced nation in the world that doesn’t guarantee its workers annual leave, according to a report titled “No-Vacation Nation” by the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
Our Inability to Escape and Unwind
Our chances to escape and unwind are gruesome. For example:
- Only 57% of us use our entitled vacation days compared with 89% of French workers, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll.
- U.S. employers discourage us from taking off more than a week at a time.
- If we do take a vacation break, we are still expected to check in electronically around the clock.
Vacations Threatened by Economic Crisis
Since the economic crisis has hit, it’s gotten worse. Fearing layoffs and a faster work pace, many Americans are reluctant to be absent from the office. If they do take time off, they’re anxious that they’ll appear uncommitted to their job.
Ironically, if we need to be good at what we do, unplugging helps us:
- Gain new insights
- Live in the present moment, good for mental health
- Jump back in renewed and excited
Let’s Take Back Our Vacation Time
October 24th is Take Back Your Time Day. According to National Coordinator John de Graaf, it’s not an issue of staying competitive. He says we’re the most competitive country in the world yet Sweden, which offers five weeks of paid vacation, comes in second.
Are we shooting ourselves in the foot?
While our international counterparts take their (deserved) time off, returning tanned, rested and ready to kick butt, we stay trapped behind, fearful that time off means time out of the office, permanently.
What do you think? Why are we a no vacation nation?