Americans Return Compensation to Employers Via Lost Vacation

January 5, 2006 ( - "This year alone, the value of the vacation days that Americans are projected to give back is estimated at almost $54 billion," Kari Swartz, product manager for leisure travel, said in a release on the results of's "Vacation Deprivation" survey.

The survey revealed that Americans are likely to give back more than 421 million vacation days in 2005, and each employed US adult is anticipated to leave an average of three vacation days on the table in 2006, according to the release.

Thirty-one percent of Americans surveyed revealed that they do not always use all of their vacation days, though 48% said vacation helps them feel rested, rejuvenated, and reconnected in their personal life.

Americans vacation attitudes and habits ranked low compared to those of other countries. For the first time in the five years of the survey included other countries and found that:

  • US workers received the least amount of vacation days (12 on average), were most likely to work over 40 hours a week (35%), and tied with Canada in giving back an average of three vacation days per person.
  • Francewins the distinction for being the vacation champions, with each employed adult receiving an average of 39 days and with nearly half (45%) taking at least one 3-4 week vacation a year.
  • German workersreceive an average of 27 vacation days, with 56% reporting that they always take all of their vacation days.
  • Employed workers in the Netherlands receive an average of 25 vacation days each year, and 62% plan on taking at least one vacation lasting up to two full weeks.
  • Adults employed in Great Britain receive the least amount of vacation days in the European countries surveyed (23 days), but have a healthy vacation attitude, with 40% saying that they’d sacrifice a day’s pay to get an extra day off.
  • Canadianemployees receive an average of 20 days of vacation, and 54% use all of their vacation days.

When Americans do vacation, according to the survey, they usually spend it with family. Thirty-one percent say they spend most of their vacation time traveling with their immediate family, and 27% say that they visit out of town family and relatives. In addition, 38% of US respondents anticipate using the majority of their vacation time for 2005 by taking one full week and then using the remaining days throughout the year.