Poll: Workers Would Trade Pay for Time Off

October 7, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The image of the lazy American found in some parts of the world aside, many US workers feel so overworked, they would be willing to give up a day's pay for an extra day off.

According to a new survey by a Takoma Park, Maryland organization, more than half of respondents said they would be willing to make that trade. Further, three out of five workers say they feel pressure to work too much. The non-profit Center for a New American Dream, which describes itself as “help(ing) Americans consume responsibly to protect the environment, enhance quality of life and promote social justice,” sponsored the survey with the organizers of Take Back Your Time Day, a national lobbying group formed “to challenge the epidemic of overwork.”

However, despite their dreams of another day to frolic with the kids, financial reality set in for many workers who confessed that they simply couldn’t afford to give up a day’s salary. Four in 10 respondents (46%) gave that response or said they didn’t know, according to the poll. Half of respondents mentioned either housing (29%) or health care (22%), while other financial demands cited included maintaining standards of living (19%), saving for retirement (19%) and paying for food and other basic items (7%) as reasons why the dreams of a day off had to stay just that – dreams.

“Labor Day should be renamed ‘Overworked Laborer Day,'” said Diane Wood, the Center for a New American Dream’s executive director, “because Americans win the prize for being overworked and overstressed. As a result, we’re finding it incredibly difficult to strike a balance between work and family … The unfortunate fact is that ours is a work and spend culture that has serious implications for our quality of life, our environment and the health of our communities.”

The poll was conducted in August 2003 and involved a telephone study of 500 American adults. For more information go to www.newdream.org .