Are You Using All Vacation Days?

Americans do not know how to take leave from work – even when it is offered and even when it is paid for. And then, when we do leave, most of us find it difficult to completely disconnect from the network while we are supposedly “away”.

A Glassdoor survey found that the average U.S. employee uses only half of our allowed vacation time, two-thirds of us work on vacation, and less than a quarter of us will use all the time we are offered.

WNYC’s Brian Lehrer opened his phone line on Thursday to ask why we’re not using vacation time. The responses he received ranged from waiting until the last minute (and then feeling too busy to justify a vacation) to an office culture that correlates vacation with a lack of dedication.

One caller, who said she works in a small business, received an email last August stating that the office would be closed for Christmas and New Years and “please plan your weekend accordingly.”

Some employees had already used most of their vacation days and then had to take at least some of that vacation without pay, the caller said.

Many countries around the world set a minimum leave to which an employee is entitled. According to Business Insider, those lows include 30 days in Brazil and Spain, four weeks in Australia and New Zealand, about 28 days in the UK, 25 days in Denmark and Sweden, and five weeks in France.

The US Department of Labor does not set a statutory minimum paid leave. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that 76% of Americans in the private sector have access to at least some paid leave.

If you belong to this group, we want to know: are you using all your days? Are you completely disconnected from the network when you do this? And why or why not?


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