Expedia: U.S. workers to skip 574 million vacation days in '06

As Memorial Day kicks off the summer vacation season, Expedia.com released the results of its sixth annual "Vacation Deprivation" survey, reporting that U.S. workers continue to lag behind other Western countries in their use of vacation time. In fact, they're lagging even more.

According to the latest survey, conducted by Harris Interactive and Ipsos Reid, U.S. workers will leave an average of four vacation days on the table this year, an increase of about one day compared with 2005. As a result, the American work force will forego more than 574 million vacation days this year, about 150 million more than last year.

Sally McKenzie, Expedia.com's vice president and general manager, said "Vacation deprivation in America is at an all-time high. There are incredible health and wellness benefits associated with time off from work. Americans should take a cue from their foreign counterparts and relish the vacation they earn."

Part of the problem could be that American's don't get enough vacation time as part of their compensation.

Expedia.com analyzed vacation habits among employed workers in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Germany, France and Australia. Not surprisingly, Americans receive the fewest vacation days per year.

But Expedia says American workers make matters worse.

One-third say they don't take all their vacation days, 38% say they put in extra hours on the job and 19% said they have canceled or postponed vacations because of work demands.

In Germany, by contrast, workers not only get nearly twice the vacation time as in the U.S., but they use more of it, leaving an average of only one day on the table, Expedia said.

"This trend of overworked and vacation-deprived workers in America is both unfortunate, and in many ways, unsustainable," Expedia said.

Expedia concluded that "the U.S. has long held the dismaying distinction of being the country with the worst vacationing habits."

Expedia, which has taken a lead role in raising public awareness of vacation usage issues, launched a Web site dedicated to the topic at www.vacationdeprivation.com. The site also contains a booking link, naturally.

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