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Americans Are (Too Afraid And Stressed) To Take Days Off From Work.

 
 
Reply Wed 13 Oct, 2021 12:17 pm
Americans Are (Too Afraid And Stressed)
To Take Days Off From Work.



08/19/2014
Updated December 6, 2017


Quote:
American workers are too scared to go on vacation.

About 40 percent of us don't plan on using all of our paid time off this year, according to a new survey released Tuesday by the U.S. Travel Association and GfK, a market research firm. The survey polled 1,303 workers, including 235 senior business leaders.

The two most common reasons survey respondents cited for not taking a break: They dread the pile of work awaiting them when they return, and no one else can do what they do at the office. These people suffer from what the researchers called a "martyr" complex, believing that they’re the only ones who can do their jobs.

Most telling: More than 20 percent of workers said one of the main reasons they aren't taking all of their vacation days is because they don’t want to appear replaceable.

“Fundamentally what’s going on there is fear,” said Michael Leiter, a psychology professor at Acadia University who studies people's relationship with their work, but wasn’t involved with the new research. “People are afraid if they’re not present and they’re not continually churning stuff out that bad things are going to happen.”



Why workers aren't taking vacation days, according to the survey:


https://i.huffpost.com/gen/1971835/original.jpg



The share of American workers taking vacation is at historic lows. In the 1970s, about 80 percent of workers took a weeklong vacation every year, according to a recent analysis from Vox. Now, that share has dropped to a little bit more than half, Vox found.

Compounding workers’ fear of taking time off is the “perception we have based on corporate culture,” that being away from work means we’re bad employees, according to Chris Moessner, vice president of public affairs at GfK.

The declining popularity of vacation has wide-ranging effects not just on workers, but also on their employers and indeed the overall economy. Studies have found that taking fewer vacations is correlated with increased risk of heart disease in both men and women. Other research has shown that workers who take vacations -- and even smaller breaks like naps or walks -- are more productive when they return.

“If you keep pushing yourself and you keep becoming exhausted, you’re going to become more distant and less caring,” Leiter said.

That’s a major issue for companies looking to get as much as possible out of their employees, particularly when many jobs require workers to show up with the capacity to contribute intellectually and creatively.

Scott Johnson and his wife, who work in property management in New Hampshire, have taken just two vacations in the past five years. Both times, they said, they've returned early and subsequently worked several 12- to 14-hour days to “straighten everything out.” The primary reason they don't use their allotted two weeks off, Johnson said, is because he likes his job and doesn't want to lose it.

The Johnsons drove far out of cell phone range this summer to Maine on a camping trip, aiming to escape work’s demands. Yet three days into their break, they stumbled into some Wi-Fi in the main office of the campground where they were staying -- and saw an urgent email from the office. They went back to work.

“I’m 50 years old, my wife’s 49, career changes right now can be a little bit rugged,” said Johnson, who has worked for the company for about seven years. “We feel sort of trapped, we’re very frustrated. We’re trading vacation for a sense of security, but it’s fragile at best.”

Companies and bosses don’t do much to encourage workers to take time off, even if it could make them more productive to come back refreshed after a few days away. Two-thirds of employees said their company says nothing, sends mixed messages or actually discourages staffers from using paid time off, the survey found.

Employees described those types of corporate cultures even as 95 percent of senior business leaders polled for the survey said they think using paid time off is important. Still, the bosses in the study appeared to be setting a bad example for what it means to get away: Nearly half of bosses surveyed said they respond to emails during time off, and almost 30 percent said they take calls during vacation.

“There’s this sense that the companies don’t really talk much about taking [time off],” Moessner said. “Employees are hoping that senior business leaders start the conversation for them.”

Leiter said the risk of burnout is real, and companies should take note. This vacation aversion is a North American phenomenon, he added. The U.S. is the only “advanced” economy that doesn’t require companies to give paid vacation days.

The study found that one way to push workers to take all of their time off is to implement a "use it or lose it" policy, which means that vacation days don't roll over from year to year.


https://www.huffpost.com/entry/americans-vacation-days_n_5682576
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 165 • Replies: 14
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jespah
 
  2  
Reply Wed 13 Oct, 2021 12:27 pm
@Real Music,
... and on the other side of things:
https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/netflixs-unlimited-vacation-policy-took-years-to-get-right-its-a-lesson-in-emotional-intelligence.html

The company I work for is implementing this for full-time employees starting 1/1/22. I absolutely cannot wait. The company is also mandating that everyone has to take at least 10 days of vacation every year.

Having worked at a company where a healthy guy in his 40s dropped dead of a heart attack due to stress, I welcome this with open arms.

The company's sole requirements are that there needs to be coverage, and we need to tell supervisors so they know what's going on. The woman who writes for me is of a different religion from me, so Easter Week and Yom Kippur are covered.

I am looking forward to being able to take the day if I have a super-long doctor's appt (think colonoscopy or the like) and not have to explain why I'm not going to clock in.
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Wed 13 Oct, 2021 12:29 pm
@jespah,
That is good to hear.
0 Replies
 
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Wed 13 Oct, 2021 12:35 pm
Workers Pay the Price for Corporate America’s Smartphone Addiction.


Quote:
Emails, calls, texts, Slack, WhatsApp, GroupMe, Twist, and other communication applications are all available on your phone or tablet and within your reach Seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Technology has provided the world with a minimum of a half dozen ways to reach you anywhere, anytime. Employers in corporate America are very aware of this, and all-too-eager to leverage technology to their advantage, and often in violation of state and Federal Law.

The Fair Labor Standards Act also referred to as the FLSA, and similar state laws across the country require employers to pay you for all work that benefits your employer if you are paid hourly or are otherwise classified as “non-exempt” from the laws. That means that employers must pay their employees for all the work they do, whether that work is performed during their regularly scheduled shift or outside their normal work hours – even if that work is performed remotely. This was not as much of a problem when “mobile phones” were first made available to the public. Those first phones could only handle phone calls or basic text messages were expensive and were frequently paired with data plans that limited minutes or text abilities. Now, almost every mobile plan includes unlimited text messages, and many plans also include data usage. As a result, managers think nothing of texting their employees at any time of the day or night. To make matters worse, many employers require their employees to download specific apps to their mobile devices to make off-the-clock communication even easier!

Many employees fail to realize how much unpaid time their employers are stealing from them using off the clock communication. A phone call here, a text there, a follow-up email – it all adds up. As little as ten minutes a day spent on calls, texts, and emails adds up to over an hour a week – an hour that frequently should be paid at the overtime rate of one and a half times the employee’s hourly wage! The savings to company’s – at the expense of their employees – quickly adds up. For example, an employee who is paid $12 an hour and works 40 hours a week “on the clock,” but spends an average of 10 minutes every day, including their days off, on off-the-clock calls, emails, and texts, is giving up an about $20 per week in pay. After one year, that employee gives up over $1,000.00 in free work to his or her employer – more than two entire weeks of pay. The Fair Labor Standards Act allows employees to recover their unpaid overtime going back up to three years and allows employees to recover double the amount they are owed. So, an employee owed $1,000 per year of unpaid overtime could recover up to $6,000.00 of unpaid wages. Most hard-working employees would never agree to work for free for more than two weeks – but that is exactly what employers are getting their employees to do every year by demanding that they be available to respond to calls, texts, messages, and emails “off the clock.”

Most employers are aware that the Fair Labor Standards Act makes it illegal for them to have their employees perform work remotely, or otherwise, without paying them for their work. But many employers do it anyway – they save hundreds of thousands of dollars – even millions – by not paying for this work, even though having their employees available at the press of a button is a tremendous benefit for them. If companies can get away with having their employees pay the price for 24/7 access to their workforce, they will.


https://shavitzlaw.com/workers-pay-the-price-for-corporate-americas-smartphone-addiction/
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Wed 13 Oct, 2021 12:45 pm
@jespah,
jespah wrote:
The company is also mandating that everyone has to take at least 10 days of vacation every year.
Ten days - that's about the minimum workers and employees got here in Germany in the 1920's.
(By [labour] law it was six days = one week at that time.)


Today, we've got as legal minimum 20 working days (but usually it's 30 days) plus the (at least, depending on state) 10 (to 15) public holidays.
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Wed 13 Oct, 2021 12:51 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Ah well, we're s...l...o...w...l...y trying to catch up to you.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  -2  
Reply Wed 13 Oct, 2021 01:00 pm
Americans have higher salaries than Germany and most of the rest of the world. Salary and mobility are the benefits of American jobs. You see a lot of people coming to the US to work.

The cost is vacation time.

That being said, I belive that American workers report being more satisfyied that German workers, even with the discrepancy in time off.

Everyone wants to criticize the US... And yet they still want to get jobs here.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Wed 13 Oct, 2021 01:19 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
Americans have higher salaries than Germany and most of the rest of the world. Salary and mobility are the benefits of American jobs.
In pure numbers, the salaries certainly are higher.
But it's not only vacations and healthcare which make differences in the quality of life ... and salary: sick leave is completely independent of your vacation days. (Employers must pay sick employees their full wages for up to six weeks or 42 calendar days. The same entitlement to continued payment of wages for up to 6 weeks applies to each new illness of the employee, regardless of whether the employee has worked in between. After that period[s], the statutory health insurance pays for the same illness up to 78 weeks of sickness benefit [roughly 80% of the net salary] within three years.)
maxdancona
 
  -2  
Reply Wed 13 Oct, 2021 02:41 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
America bashing seems to be in vogue. Obviously there are plusses and minuses to each culture, and quality of life is a subjective term; there are many people who are perfectly happy with 3 weeks of vacation.

But consider this... There are a substantial number of people who when given the choice between Germany and the US, choose to kive and work in the US.

Working in the US isn't odious for the majority of us.
Real Music
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Oct, 2021 07:50 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
quality of life is a subjective term

Noted.
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Wed 13 Oct, 2021 09:22 pm
@Real Music,
Were you happy with your job, RealMusic?
Real Music
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Oct, 2021 10:07 pm
@maxdancona,
Yes.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Oct, 2021 10:36 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
...quality of life is a subjective term... There are a substantial number of people who when given the choice between Germany and the US, choose to kive and work in the US.
Certainly the experience an individual has of his or her own life and to the living conditions in which these individuals find themselves is subjective.

That's why we've got so many persons living in the one country but working in another. (300,000 Germans are commuting to work in another country - 240, 000 foreigners are commuting to work here.)
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Thu 14 Oct, 2021 11:04 am
@Walter Hinteler,
I think most Americans, including Real Music and myself, feel happy about our experience working in the United States.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Oct, 2021 11:17 am
@maxdancona,
I didn't and don't doubt that.
0 Replies
 
 

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