Need more proof that Americans work too hard?
A new study finds that last year, the average US worker took just 16 days of paid time off, down from the 20.3 days workers were taking off, on average, between 1976 and 2000.
The study was conducted by Oxford Economics and paid for by the US Travel Association, a group representing companies in the travel industry and government tourism departments.
It included this helpful chart to show the 21% drop in American vacation time:
And the loss of vacation time is not just the result of employers being stingy with paid time off.
Since many companies have policies that do not allow employees to roll over unused days, the study reports that US workers lost 169 million vacation days in 2013, or about 1.6 days per worker.
All this unused time off could be damaging. Past studies have shown that people who make time for vacations are likely to be happier, healthier, and more energetic than those who don’t. Even if they lose some time in the office by going away somewhere, research suggests people become more productive once they return.
Though some might feel they have to keep pushing themselves in order to get ahead, the US Travel Association found that workers who left between 11 and 15 days of paid time off unused were 6.5% less likely than people who used all of their time off to receive a promotion.
“America’s work martyrs aren’t more successful,” US Travel Association CEO and president Roger Dow says in a statement. “All work and no play is not going to get you ahead — it’s only going to get you more stress.”
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