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At a glance: Some quick facts about paid vacation

Compared with other countries
  • The U.S. is the only industrialized nation without a minimum annual leave statute.
  • 137 countries have paid vacation leave, including all developed countries.
  • In 1980 we ranked 11th in the world in longevity—now we’re 42nd.
  • We’re twice as likely as Europeans to suffer from anxiety and depression.  Many experts believe these deficits are caused by lack of time.
  • Every European worker gets at least four weeks of paid vacation by law.  Yet the Euro is rising while the dollar is falling.
Americans are taking fewer (and shorter) vacations
  • PEW Research Center says "more free time" is the number one priority for middle-class Americans—68% listed this as a high priority for them.
  • Last year only 14% of American workers took two weeks or more for vacation.
  • According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American works one month (160 hours) more today than in 1976.
  • Last year only 57% of American workers took a vacation of a week or longer.
  • 25% of Americans receive no paid vacation leave. Only 69% of lower-wage workers get any paid vacation leave.
  • 37% of American women earning less than $40,000 a year receive no paid annual leave.
Just for the Health of It!
  • Men who don't take regular vacations are 32% more likely to die of heart attacks, and 21% more likely to die early of all causes.  Women have 50% more risk of heart attack.
  • Stress and burnout are five times more costly to treat than average workplace maladies.
  • Women who don't take vacations are twice as likely to be depressed as those who do.
Vacations are good for businesses too!
  • Vacations have been shown to eliminate burnout, but it takes at least two weeks off.
  • The travel industry adds $740 billion dollars a year to the US economy
  • Stress and burnout at work cost the US economy over $300 billion a year.
  • Companies that have adopted the vacation benefits endorsed here have dramatically increased productivity and profits.
  • Paid vacations, after health care, are the benefits most appreciated by workers
  • A New Zealand study found that workers sleep better after taking vacations and are 30-40% more alert on the job when they return.
Have We Forsaken The Great Outdoors?
  • The forest service is actually closing campgrounds because no one is using them.
  • The average visitor to Yosemite used to spend 48 hours there.  Now it's 8.
  • Our children spend only half as much unstructured time outdoors as they did a generation ago.

A Department of Labor appointed Committee on Vacations with Pay called for a national minimum paid leave law as far back as 70 years ago.

It’s time to act. There’s no present like the time!