American workers and employers are beginning to recognize the benefits of having and using vacation time. Part of this trend is driven by younger workers who value quality of life issues and a balance between work and personal time, according to an article in the Christian Science Monitor. Even so, the U.S. work culture is quite a bit different than that of European countries when it comes to taking time off.
Even if American workers took all of their allotted time off, they would still lag far behind their European counterparts. The average number of paid vacation days for someone in the US who had worked for a year in 2005 was 8.9, says Carroll Lachnit, executive editor of Workforce Management magazine. The statutory minimum vacation in the European Union is 21.3 days a year. The US has no statutory minimum.
Professor Ciulla observed firsthand the differences in attitudes between Europeans and Americans when she attended a recent conference in France hosted by an American company with overseas operations.
“The French refused to come that Friday because it was their bank holiday,” she says. “When the French have a day off, they have a day off, no matter what.”