Even those who do get paid vacation often don’t take it — and that may be harmful to their health
It’s all work and not enough paid time off.
The U.S. is the only economically advanced country in which the government doesn’t guarantee workers receive paid vacation time off, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research. That means that 25% of the country’s private-sector workers don’t get any time off at all, the report revealed.
Meanwhile, more than 35 paid days off are allotted to workers in France, the UK and Spain, according to a chart compiled by Statista with data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Other countries like Chile and South Korea give 30 days of annual leave and public holidays, while Canada, Israel, Japan and Australia give workers between 19 and 28 days.
And while most of the other countries studied gave at least some guaranteed paid holidays off to workers, Americans get none. For example, countries like Austria, Portugal and Italy guarantee 13 paid holidays off for workers, in addition to multiple days of paid time off to take as needed.
Even American workers whose companies give them paid days off often don’t take them. More than half of US employees (52%) said they still had unused vacation days by the end of the year; not a major improvement from the 54% who said so in 2016, according to a Project Time Off study from 2018. What’s more, Americans forfeited 212 million paid vacation days last year, or the equivalent of $62.2 billion in lost benefits. In 2017, the average American took just 17 days of paid vacation, the Project Time Off study found.
This has a huge impact on mental health and emotional wellness. More than half of Americans (53%) say they’re burned out and overworked. And those who don’t take at least one week of vacation per year could be at a greater risk of dying from heart disease, according to research from the University of New York at Oswego.
Plus, taking all of your vacation days can help boost creativity, too. A SUNY Buffalo study found that traveling to a different place or simply getting out of the office is the perfect creative catalyst.
© 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved