Vacation Time

Is your vacation time totally separated from your work time? Photo by Mateusz Dach on

This weekend blog has been my weekend escape. It’s not a vacation. I take vacations I tend to queue up some posts here so that I don’t seem to be on vacation.

My mechanic and his wife were closing the shop for a week. I asked them where they were going. They said that they might go to the Jersey shore for a few days. Nothing big. When they returned, I asked again. They did three days at the shore, took their grandkids to the zoo, and got some “things done around the house.” The latter sounds like “work.”

I was reading that Americans are terrible at taking time for vacations. Workers lose their vacation days, trade them for other benefits, and when they take time off it is often like the couple above – staycations and working vacations. Almost half of the employees surveyed worked an hour a day while on vacation last year.

The United States has no federal paid vacation policy. It is one of only a handful of countries without guaranteed paid annual leave. In 1910, President William Howard Taft said two weeks off was not enough for people to protect their “health and constitution.” How much did he suggest? Two or three months.

In the European Union, workers receive a minimum of four weeks of paid holidays annually. France guarantees 30 days of paid annual leave, and Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland have set the minimum at four weeks of paid annual leave.

But if Americans aren’t even using the days they do get (two weeks is still pretty standard), what would happen if they got more time off?

What reasons do workers give for having unused vacation days? Sadly, some felt they couldn’t adequately disconnect from work while on vacation. Some say they can’t feel relaxed or connect with loved ones at home. Some thought time off would bring up negative outcomes, such as feeling stressed or having financial burdens.

Working during your time off? Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva on

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A lifelong educator on and off the Internet. Random by design and predictably irrational. It's turtles all the way down. Dolce far niente.

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