US Workers Stressed Out

February 21, 2001 ( - One in six US workers is so overworked, they aren't able to use all their vacation time, according to a new study.

Additionally, 14% of employee respondents say that their employer only promotes workers who habitually work late.

Over a third (34%) say their jobs are so demanding they have no down time at work.  Thirty-two percent work and eat lunch at the same time, while a similar 32% never leave the building once they arrive, according to the national survey sponsored by Oxford Health Plans.

Under Pressure

While most employers are accommodating, survey respondents said:

  • 19% said they feel they must come to work even if sick
  • 19% say their job makes them feel older than they are
  • 17% claim that work causes them to lose sleep at home
  • 17% said it is tough to take time off or leave work for an emergency
  • 8% said they would be fired or demoted if they became seriously ill.

Vacation Break?

The survey’s authors cited research from the State University of New York at Oswego in Sept. 2000 that found that regular vacations lowered the risk of death among men by almost 20%.  A second study by researchers using the Framingham Heart Study data in 1992 of found frequent vacations cut risk of death among all women by half.

The average US worker gets 13 vacation days, compared with 42 in Italy, 37 in France, 28 in Great Britain, 26 in Canada and 25 in Japan. Japanese workers, however, are known not to take the vacation days they are entitled to.