American celebrates another birthday Saturday. The Fourth of July, Independence Day is generally associated with parades, barbecues/picnics, fireworks and for some lucky Americans the beginning of summer vacations. I say lucky because we have evolved into the “No Vacation Nation.”
U.S. News & World Report recently published that 35 percent of all workers will not be taking a vacation this year. Of those that will not be taking a vacation, 71 percent explained outright they just could not afford a vacation. More unbelievable, 20 % of the U.S. work force indicated they feel guilty taking a vacation, were at risk of losing their jobs or would be bypassed for promotion.
The underlying point here is American vacations are vanishing. Only 14% of American currently gets a vacation of two or more weeks as annual leave benefits have been evaporating like pensions. According to government survey data, the average American only receives approximately nine days of paid vacation and six paid holidays per year. The primarily factor being that the United States, unlike 127 other countries in the world, has no minimum paid-leave law. In comparison, Europeans lead the pack with four to five weeks, Australians have four weeks, and even the Japanese have two weeks by law.
The good news – in May, Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL) with the support of the advocacy group, Take Back Your Time (http://www.timeday.org/), introduced the first paid vacation bill in U.S. History. The Paid Vacation Act of 2009 will stipulate paid vacation for companies and their employees. However, referencing the U.S. News & World Report Statistics, I noticed that 28 percent of workers taking vacation this year plan on contacting their offices at least once, and 50 percent of employers expect their employees to check in.
Seems like we are now down to long weekends in our great "No Vacation Nation."
In closing, today’s blog entry is the first in a series I will post this summer under the umbrella theme – What’s Next U.S.A.? I will address numerous trends that will shape (impact) our country’s next decade. They are as follows:
- Man’s Best Friend
- Pet U.S.A.
- Brain Drain