Tags: working | US | less | vacation

Study: Working in the US Means Less Vacation

By Dan Weil   |   Thursday, 30 May 2013 07:48 AM

Years ago we were told that the increased automation of our society would free workers for loads and loads of leisure time. Apparently it hasn't quite worked out that way.

The United States represents the only country among 21 developed nations that doesn't have laws requiring employers to provide between 10 and 30 paid vacation days a year, according to a new study from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a liberal think tank.

France, not known for its intense work ethic, offers the most paid vacation days — 30 a year. And even in Japan, which is known for its work ethic, employers have to offer 10 vacation days.

Editor's Note: Startling Proof of the End of America’s Middle Class. Details in the Video

In the United States, 77 percent of workers get paid vacation time from their employers, the report says. For these lucky ones, the average is 13 paid vacation days per year.

The lack of paid vacation and paid holidays in the United States is particularly acute for low-wage workers, part-time workers and for employees of small businesses.

Employees of small businesses in the United States are less likely to have any paid vacation (69 percent) than are those in medium and large establishments (86 percent). Only 49 percent of low-wage workers (the bottom fourth of workers) have paid vacation, compared with 90 percent of high-wage workers. And part-time workers are far less likely to have paid vacations (35 percent) than are full-time workers (91 percent).

John Schmitt, co-author of the report, says that not all U.S. workers who are entitled to vacation even take it, perhaps because they are worried about job security.

"I think what that means is that people get nervous about both asking for time off and taking time off," he told CNBC.

To a casual observer, vacation can work in strange ways. Some of the wealthiest people, who can obviously afford splendid vacations, refrain from taking them. They either love their jobs too much to take time off, or feel the company can't make do without their presence.

Editor's Note: Startling Proof of the End of America’s Middle Class. Details in the Video

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