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Vacation stooges: Working for free
Half of the nation's workers forfeit vacation days; workers in Newark leave most days on table.
May 25, 2005: 5:02 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Memorial Day usually makes for a nice long weekend, but when was the last time you took a real vacation?

U.S. workers are in the midst of a self-imposed "vacation crisis," according to a report by Universal Orlando Resort released Wednesday.

It comes as no surprise that a resort operator would promote the idea that people should take more vacation.

Still, the news may strike a chord with employees struggling under the weight of career demands.

About half of the nation's full-time workers didn't use all the vacation days they earned in the past year, forfeiting eight days each on average, or nearly half the days available to them, the resort operator said.

Newark, N.J., tops the list of places where workers received and took the fewest vacation days, while workers in Sacramento, Calif., received and took the most days, the survey found.

"Can you imagine your reaction if you were told in a job interview that you were expected to work eight days each year for free?" Tom Williams, CEO of the parent company of Universal Orlando Resort, said in a statement.

"Yet that's what about half of the American work force is doing," he added.

"Ultimately, though, it's not just about whether you're taking full advantage of your compensation and benefits. It's about whether you're taking full advantage of life," Williams noted.

Universal Orlando Resort compiled its figures based on the number of vacation days people in the 51 largest metro areas earned on average, and what percentage of those people reported taking vacation days throughout the year, using data from the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Also: Tired? Stressed? Click here to find out why.

Plus an in-depth look at the job market: Your Job 2005.  Top of page

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