Most Employees Did Not Take Vacation Last Year

Compiled By CityTownInfo.com Staff
January 22, 2010

working vacationA recent survey indicates that two-thirds of employees did not take all of their vacation time in 2009.

The analysis was conducted by Right Management, the human resources consulting division of the staffing firm Manpower, which polled 667 people in December 2009. Only 34 percent of the survey's respondents said that they had taken vacation that year.

"The cost of vacation is pretty high," noted Douglas Matthews, Right Management's president and chief operating officer, who was interviewed by MSNBC.com. "Tons of people feel they don't have the discretionary spending to take vacation, so they just stay at work."

The survey confirmed a trend that was reported last May by CNN, when layoffs were hitting record levels. Cindy Goodman, a Miami Herald business columnist, pointed out that people were worried that a temporary vacation could lead to permanent time off.

"The people who still have a job are really feeling overwhelmed and overworked," she told CNN. "They're afraid to take vacations, but at the same time, they need them more than ever."

Matthews agreed. "All employees should make it their New Year's resolution to use allocated vacation during the year," he said in a press release [from an article originally located at http://www.right.com/news-and-events/press-releases/item2084.aspx]. "Not doing so can lead to increased stress and related health issues, negatively impacting performance and productivity."

David Patrick, 47, an administrator from Brooklyn, New York, told the Daily News that the recession influenced his decision to forgo vacation, but not because he feared losing his job.

"This year, I didn't go on vacation because I didn't want to spend the money," he was quoted as saying. "To just stay home and watch TV--I won't do that."

But career experts urged employees to take advantage of vacation time, saying that doing so ultimately helps one's performance at work.

"Vacations are underrated," said Joan Kane, a Manhattan psychologist who was interviewed by MSNBC.com. "People think they're fluff. I believe they're crucial." She noted that taking vacation reduces stress, allows people to relax and promotes creative thinking.

Matthews concurred, saying that that working without any break can "influence turnover and retention, absenteeism, frequency of health claims, safety and a host of other HR issues. Using vacation time is important to maintain balance and wellness.

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