A recent survey by Harris Interactive for Expedia.com points out that American workers receive less vacation than their international counterparts. Not only that, they decline to take the days that they do earn, giving them back to their companies instead. A few examples:
· France: The French are vacation champions, earning on average 39 vacation days, with 54% taking at least 3-4 week vacation per year.
· Germany: The Germans don’t do so badly either, earning an average of 27 days, with 56 percent always taking all their vacation days.
· Netherlands: The Dutch receive an average 25 vacation days each year, and 62% plan on taking at least one two week vacation.
· Great Britain: The English earn an average of only 23 vacation days, but 40% say they’d sacrifice a day’s pay for an extra day off.
· Canada: The Canadians receive an average of 20 vacation days, and 54% use each and every one of them.
In contrast, U.S. workers receive an average of 12 vacation days and nearly a third of them don’t take all their days. American employees give back an average of three vacation days each year, totaling a value of more than $50 billion.
Why is this the case? Why do we not receive as many vacation days and why do we not take them all? What are the benefits and drawbacks to this? Finally, what can we do about it as HR professionals? Do we think we can change it? How? Your thoughts…