Vacation? No thanks, boss

@CNNMoney May 18, 2012: 5:48 AM ET
Unlike many other nations, the U.S. does not require companies to offer paid time off to workers. Americans who are offered vacation often don't take it. Click on the chart to see why.

Unlike many other nations, the U.S. does not require companies to offer paid time off to workers. Americans who are offered vacation often don't take it. Click on the chart to see why.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Dubbed the "no vacation nation," the United States lags behind most other developed countries when it comes to vacation days. But Americans don't seem to mind.

Most workers don't use all their vacation days in the first place.

About 57% of working Americans had unused vacation time at the end of 2011, and most of them left an average of 11 days on the table - or nearly 70 percent of their allotted time off, according to a study performed by Harris Interactive for JetBlue.

Employers certainly aren't complaining. Separate data from financial information company Sageworks shows profits-per-employee are at a 10-year high. Could workers cramming in more hours be a factor? Yes, says Libby Bierman, a Sageworks analyst.

"We don't have exact information on why profits increased, but I think it's safe to say it's a combination of people spending more time at work and technological advancements," she said.

As companies cut back on staff during the recession, they learned how to get by with a leaner workforce and rely more on technology.

Since then, employees who saw their workloads build up over those years feel they can't afford to take time off.

One of the biggest reasons for forgoing vacation, according to a survey by Kelton Research, was workers felt they had too much work.

"I don't really have a back-up for my job," said Kyra Mancine, a catalog copywriter in Rochester, N.Y. "I worry that if I'm gone for an extended vacation, the work won't get done and I'll come back to a huge pile-up of projects. I hate coming back to hundreds of emails."

A fifth of workers surveyed also said they couldn't afford to travel.

"I can't afford to do anything when I do take time off," said Emily Harley, a marketing and media relations manager based in Helena, Ala. "It just wasn't worth the trade-off to let work back up and cause myself stress, if the only thing I could do with time off was clean house!"

And about 9% of the survey respondents said they were afraid to take time off amid an unstable job market -- not surprising when the unemployment rate is still above 8%.

Unlike most other developed countries, U.S. law doesn't require companies to offer paid vacation time to their employees.

The United Kingdom for instance requires employers to give at least 28 vacation days. In Finland, France and Greece, the minimum is 25. In Germany and Japan, it's 20. To top of page

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.24%4.20%
15 yr fixed3.30%3.18%
5/1 ARM3.42%3.36%
30 yr refi4.22%4.16%
15 yr refi3.29%3.17%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Economic Calendar
Latest ReportNext Update
Home pricesAug 28
Consumer confidenceAug 28
GDPAug 29
Manufacturing (ISM)Sept 4
JobsSept 7
Inflation (CPI)Sept 14
Retail sales Sept 14
CNNMoney Sponsors
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.