Does all work and no play make Jack a dull boy? Who knows, but it certainly makes Jack a generous boy—generous to his company.
American workers turned down 169 million days of paid vacation last year, according to a study by Oxford Economics
. In terms of wages, that amounts to $52.4 billion, or $504 per day per worker.
"Americans are work martyrs. Tied to the office, they leave more and more paid time off unused each year, forfeiting their earned benefits and, in essence, working for free," states the study, sponsored by American Express.
We're taking less vacation than we used to. On average, American workers used 20.3 days of vacation each year from 1976 to 2000. That figure has dropped to 16 days in 2013.
"If American workers were to return to pre-2000 habits, the U.S. economy would enjoy a massive windfall," the study says.
"Annual vacation days taken by U.S. employees would jump 27 percent, . . . delivering a $284 billion impact across the economy, including $118 billion in direct travel spending alone."
Perhaps American workers are more concerned about their pay than vacation. Average hourly wages rose only 2 percent in the 12 months through December, barely topping the 1.7 percent increase in consumer prices.
Education is the key issue, says Mortimer Zuckerman, editor-in-chief of U.S. News & World Report
. "A more educated workforce with higher wages would foster a stronger economy," he writes in the publication.
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