Studies show upwards of two-thirds of workers will not use vacation days
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/05/2012 -- More Americans are finding it difficult to justify taking days off work while the economy is so poor. Ken Waltz, a worker at Alexian Brothers Health System cannot remember the last time he took a day off. Waltz is a director of facilities and construction, and is responsible for millions of square feet of hospital space in the northwest suburbs.
"I made a couple of attempts to get away — like taking the kids to the (Wisconsin) Dells — but I just had to cancel," said Waltz, who has notched 17 years with the company.
Ken Waltz is hardly in the minority when it comes to unused vacation days. 65% of Americans have unutilized off-days. Companies downsize during economic downturn, and those who keep long hours and take few days off are more likely to keep their respective jobs. Even those who rightfully earn and take off a week often have so much work on their return that the vacation hardly feels worth the effort.
"People prize their personal time, but they're more worried about the economy and jobs," said Paul Bazell of Adviant, a Dallas-based human resources consulting firm. "One person is now doing the work of three, so they can't even think about taking time off. Because they say, 'I might lose my job ... and I just can't go out and get a new one.'"
A Kelton study concluded that polled workers had over 18 vacation days, yet only had taken 13.4 by the end of 2011. The lack of personal time taken has become severe enough that hotels like the Hyatt and Radisson launched promotions that urge people to use vacation days they have saved up.
Carol Sladek, partner of Aon Hewish, the Lincolnshire HR consulting firm, is not at all surprised by the surplus of personal days not taken. Companies have attempted to spread their costs thin. Employees are aware of this fact and assume that taking personal days puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to the chopping block.
Two weeks of vacation is standard for large companies, and those who earn tenure often get a third and fourth week. Sladek says that few schedule more than one week per year, with many choosing one- or two-day vacations sprinkled throughout the year.
Scott Quinn, a pilot for a major airline states simply of the issue, "I think it's crazy." Quinn is a 15-year veteran at O’Hare International Airport. "Corporations have taken so much in the last few years that I think you should take every last day."
Some companies and states do allow employees to receive the accruement difference of their unused days off. Given the uncertainty of the economy, it is likely that those who have such agreements with their company are simply interested in saving up in case of the possibility of termination.
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