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Most Americans Use Just Half Their Vacation Days

And 61% of Americans say they work on vacation
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2014 10:07 AM CDT
Most Americans Use Just Half Their Vacation Days
In this Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 photo, rush hour commuters crowd a subway platform at the Woodside station in Queens, N.Y.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

(Newser) – The US is the only developed country in the world that doesn't require its workers to have access to paid vacation. While those in the European Union are guaranteed at least 20 paid vacation days a year (and 25 or even 30 days in some countries), most Americans get about 10 paid days a year and use only half, according to a new survey reported in MarketWatch. And of those actually on vacation, 61% confess to working while vacationing, with one in four saying they were contacted by a colleague and one in five saying they were contacted by a boss.

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Things were apparently better in 1976 when 9 million Americans took a week of vacation in July, reports Vox. This past July, even with 60 million more Americans employed than in 1976, only 7 million took a week off. Some calculations put just 56% of workers taking a weeklong vacation in a given year, a figure that used to be as high as 80%. Top reasons for people taking less vacation time are less accrual of days and fear of hurting one's career or place at work. "That's not healthy," writes Scott Martelle in the LA Times. (Check out how many Americans don't get any paid vacation at all.)

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