Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cultural Superiority and Vacation Deprivation

This Amerikiwi really struggles to disengage from reading emails while on vacation. (I have to delete the account or the temptation is too great.) So it was with great interest (especially after my last post) that I read the following article in USA Today, titled: "Who Gets the Most Vacation Time? And Who Gets the Least?" (Clue: I've just decided to move to Brazil. Questions: Are they lazy? Or are we driven? Which cultural values are superior? Hmmm.)

The average working European earns 25 to 30 vacation days annually and usually takes them all. In 2011, the typical American employee earned 14 days off, but took only 12.

That's according to a survey out today commissioned by the online travel agency The wide-ranging 2011 Vacation Deprivation study queried 7,803 adults in 20 countries about how much vacation they earn – and actually take – and also about their attitudes regarding time off.

The results differ from another recent survey on the topic by, which reported that the average American leaves 6.2 days of vacation unused each year. (That survey was based on online responses from 2,000 workers.)

Other highlights from the survey:

Asians get – and take – fewer days than residents of other parts of the world. Japanese reported taking just five days out of 11 earned. South Korean respondents, who earned 10 days off, took seven. Brazilians outpace even holiday-hungry Europeans in using time off. They typically earn 30 vacation days and use them all.

Lack of money was the most frequently cited reason for not taking a vacation. Lack of planning was No. 2.
More Americans than other nationalities cite money worries as the reason for foregoing a getaway. However, 50% characterized their financial situation as "solid" or "good," reinforcing the idea that Americans regard vacations as a luxury. Brazilians, on the other hand, were least likely (6%) to cite money issues.

The Danish find it easiest to disconnect from work mode. Only 1 in 7 respondents said they check email while away and half said they never check it. Only 25% of Americans said they check email regularly on vacation; 75% said they check in sporadically or not at all.

How about you? Will you be leaving vacation time unspent this year? And if so, why?