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Are These 5 Employee Vacation Statistics Surprising?

vacation statistics

The summer is finally here! That means vacation, right?

Maybe not…

You might be surprised to learn that while we here in America claim to love our summer breaks, employee vacation statistics tell a different story. Compared to other top economies throughout the world, we have some of the most restrictive policies about vacation out there. Check out these five worker vacation statistics to get a sense of what we mean:

  1. The average full-time employee in the US gets 8.1 paid vacation days after one year on the job.

That’s less than two weeks. It’s a week to see the family at Christmas and a few days to go to a friend’s wedding. Just hope that two of your friends never get married in the same year.

Of course, after just one year of employment, this figure may seem reasonable. But the numbers don’t get much better. You have to work 25 years at a company in the US to get an average of 15.7 days off per year. 25 years! Compare that to France, where all full-time employees are required to get 30 vacation days per year. Even the Japanese require ten paid vacation days per year.

And bear in mind that overwork is such a problem in Japan that they have a term for working yourself to death. (It’s called karoshi.)

  1. 55% of US workers left vacation time unused in 2015.

Even with the tiny amount of vacation we are allowed, most of us don’t use it all. That equates to $61.4 billion worth of benefits that American workers leave unclaimed every year. Why do we do it?

  1. American workers say they don’t use their vacation because they don’t want to return to a mountain of work (37%), no one else can do their job (35%), and they cannot afford to take a vacation (33%).

These stats speak to a lack of support within the workplace for vacation time. And they are supported by another key stat…

  1. 80% of American workers say they would be more likely to use their vacation if they felt supported and/or encouraged by their boss to do so.

And finally…

  1. Six in ten employees say they have a lack of support for vacation time from their bosses.

This is a major problem. Countless studies have shown that people who take regular vacations are more productive and happier when they return to work. Vacation is an essential part of a healthy and effective workplace.

If you’re looking for ways to improve company culture within your business, a review of whether your people use their vacation time should be one of your top priorities. And for goodness sake, take care of yourself, use your own vacation days.

About Joy Ruhmann
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