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Workers in the US are using the most vacation days since 2010, new research from Project: Time Off shows.
The average worker in America took 17.2 days of vacation in 2017, 0.4 days more that those used the previous year. Of the days used in 2017, Americans used a paltry eight days for trips away from home. And the increased 2017 numbers still pale in comparison to the average of 20.3 vacation days Americans used to take annually from 1978 to 2000.
The US labor force has no mandate on vacation days, unlike many other countries around the world. Workers in France and Denmark, for example, legally get 36 days of paid vacation per year. Similarly, employees in Sweden get 34 government-sanctioned paid days off, and those in the UK get 28.
Although vacation day usage is slightly up by US standards, the bulk of American employees are still not using up all of their allotted paid time off. The survey showed that some workers felt vacations would make them appear less dedicated, while others thought their workloads were too heavy to leave behind or that no one could fill in for them if they went away for some R&R.
In fact, 24% of workers said they hadn’t taken any vacation days at all last year, and 52% said they left some days go unused.
But, Americans are missing out on more than just a chance to recharge their batteries when they forgo their vacation days. According to Project: Time Off’s calculations, American’s expired vacation days added up to $255 billion in missed economic opportunity and could have created $1.9 million jobs.
The survey was conducted by GfK online between January 4-23, 2018, and 4,349 Americans who were 18+ participated. Participants must have worked more than 35 hours per week and receive paid time off from their employer to count. The data was weighted and scaled. Additional economy analysis was provided by Oxford Economics.
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