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Jul 24, 2007

American Vacation

"As it stands, America is the only industrial nation that offers no legal protection for vacations.  The average vacation in the United States is now only a long weekend, and 25 percent of American workers have no paid vacation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compare that to Sweden, which mandates 32 vacation days...

"'We see overwork as a social, legal problem that needs political legislations,' says [John] deGraaf. 'We are utterly unique in our dismissal of the need for time and the environmental costs; not to mention, the costs to our health and our families have been enormous.'"

-- Dara Colwell, "Work Less, Save the Planet", in the Triangle Free Press No. 72, July 2007.

I've just started researching the topic of why and how to work less, and this article came across my desk.  I'm not endorsing everything it says, but thought it a take worth looking at.

10:38 PM in Misc.Blog 2007 | Permalink

Comments

At my last job I earned TONS of vacation, but was totally not encouraged to take it. I was in the type of support role that just...doesn't do well when time is taken off. Or rather - others didn't do well when I took time off. I was thrilled with my giant last check when all that vacation was paid out, though.

Posted by: pinky | Jul 25, 2007 9:43:32 AM

what i particularly like are jobs in which the vacationing employee is encouraged to find someone to fill in and perform their tasks while they're out. This usually involves a certain amount of training as well.

I always thought that's what managers and supervisors were supposed to do, but obviously i was mistaken.

Posted by: barry | Jul 25, 2007 11:33:42 AM

I think the vacation time is insane here. When I worked in Scotland, we had a 36 hour week (full-time) and five weeks holiday. Plus our workplace shut down completely over Christmas, so it was mandatory to take a break then. Plus you could get to Europe in a couple of hours.

Posted by: Marianne | Jul 25, 2007 5:10:17 PM

I think the vacation time is insane here. When I worked in Scotland, we had a 36 hour week (full-time) and five weeks holiday. Plus our workplace shut down completely over Christmas, so it was mandatory to take a break then. Plus you could get to Europe in a couple of hours.

Posted by: Marianne | Jul 25, 2007 5:10:23 PM

There's a fairly popular book out titled something like "How to work five hours a week" but I don't recall if it's a serious look at labor practices or a how-to guide to start your own MLM business. :)

Posted by: Toastie | Jul 28, 2007 12:47:55 PM

There's a fairly popular book out titled something like "How to work five hours a week" but I don't recall if it's a serious look at labor practices or a how-to guide to start your own MLM business. :)

Posted by: Toastie | Jul 28, 2007 12:48:22 PM

Toastie's comment reminds me of something a freelance photographer told me way back. "My business was a non-profit for several years."

Me, I've been busy, but this month I've only worked maybe 7 days. I get plenty of vacation time! It is just fairly unpredictable, and I'm always afraid to plan to go somewhere because I never know when work will come up. I do tell myself that, in these non-work times, I definitely should be getting plenty of sleep, and mostly I am, so that's good.

Posted by: Elrond Hubbard | Jul 28, 2007 1:27:42 PM

With the proliferation of cellphones, pagers, and e-mail, I imagine the situation is even worse than can be characterized by counting vacation days. People are expected to be on call for the most ridiculous of reasons; everything has to be 24/7. Even if you do get, say, 4 weeks of vacation, 13 paid holidays, and 1 sick day/month (as I used to), it sure as hell doesn't feel like it. When you have to use your vacation time to catch up on the rest of your life (to the extent that you can't do anything else), or recover from overwork, or immediately get sick on the first day of your vacation, "vacation" isn't much of a "vacation." Or if you come back to a backlog of work. Or if you have to work twice as hard for a week before you leave. Or....

Posted by: Joseph H. Vilas | Jul 30, 2007 12:19:06 PM