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By July 31, 2017No Comments

We’ve highlighted on this blog before that U.S. workers don’t use all the vacation time they earn. Plus, American workers don’t enjoy as much time off as their cousins enjoy in other industrialized nations. Much of our inability to relax and rest comes from our workplace culture. Far too many employers in this country send negative or, at best, mixed signals about vacation time.

Our friends over at Project:Time Off tell us that 662 million vacation days were left unused by Americans in 2016. Fortunately, part of that number can largely be attributed to employees earning more time off.

To highlight the “nose-to-the-grindstone” mentality that Americans demonstrate in contrast to other industrialized nations, liberal firebrand Michael Moore crafted an outstanding clip when he interviewed an Italian couple about the amount of time theirnation’s employees enjoy in his documentary “Where To Invade Next.” Watch this humorous exchange.


If you’re interested in the numbers, Project:Time Off is the go-to source. They’ve recently been able to chart that we, Americans, are taking more time off. Employers also seem to be doing better and offering more time off then in the past. But, as with most things, we can do better.

Recently, the HR tech firm, Namely, provided employers with more incentive to offer and push vacation time to their employees. According to their data, top performers take more vacation time than lower performing workers.

Because Namely is an all-in-one HR, payroll, and benefits platform, their data spans the entire employee life-cycle—including time off and performance reviews. Namely therefore was able to pull client employee vacation and performance data. They found that employees who were rated as high performers took an average of 19 vacation days per year. In comparison, individuals with lower marks took only 14.

Here is what Andy Przystanski, Senior Content Specialist at Namely, wrote about what this data means for employers.

Our results corroborate what psychological science has already confirmed: time off has a beneficial impact on performance. While the empirical evidence is mixed on whether long or short breaks yield the best results, no study in the last decade has suggested that time off hampers productivity or engagement in any way.

One of HR’s core responsibilities is to ensure that employees are engaged and productive. The issue isn’t about policy, it’s about messaging. Last year, nearly 700 million vacation days were left unused by American workers. Employees are taking less time off than what they’re entitled to, perhaps because they’re afraid of being labeled low-performers.

There seems to be increasing evidence that taking regular vacation breaks from work are beneficial. Now employers may want to watch their tone when time off is requested. Chances are that the request came from one of your top employees.

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