More Workers Leave Vacation Days Behind

May 26, 2004 ( - Three out of 10 employed adults are not using all of their vacation time and 32% find it difficult to fully separate themselves from the office - resorting to "working" vacations checking email and voicemail.

Those missed vacation days add up. Across the country, workers that receive annual vacation are handing back a total of 415 million vacation days to their employers. On average, every employed American misses out on three days of vacation, up 50% from the two days they each forfeited in 2003, according to a survey by (which, of course, offers an online service that helps individuals use those vacation days).

Yet workers responded positively to taking the necessary R&R to recharge the batteries. Sixty-five percent of the people polled by Expedia say they come back feeling rested, rejuvenated, and reconnected with family and friends after vacation.

Bucking the national trend though are workers in the Midwest. Expedia’s found only 46% of Midwesterns work more than 40 hour per week, compared to the 51% national average. Additionally, only 24% of the workers in the nation’s heartland leave vacation time on the table, compared to 30 percent nationally.

On the other end of the scale, 43% of workers in the West say they would take less vacation than they are given due to “too much work.” Further, this group leaves behind the most unused vacation (27% give up more than a week each year) and works the longest hours (56% work more than 40 hours a week).