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Much U.S. vacation time goes unused

Rogers County workers awarded more vacation days, while U.S. employers' policies continue to fall short of global leave mandates.
by Paula Burkes Published: September 2, 2012

With Labor Day weekend unofficially heralding the end of summer vacation, a survey released last week confirms what past polls already have found: many U.S. workers don't use all their vacation time.

According to an online survey conducted by Harris Interactive for Inspirato private vacation club, only 64 percent of residents of the 10 largest cities took at least one vacation a year over the past five years. Topping the list were Washington residents at 73 percent; Dallas-Fort Worth was No. 8 at 61 percent.

Of 2,534 people queried, at least eight in 10 get some vacation time from their employer, surveyors found. Of those who receive vacation, the mean number of days ranges from a low of 17.6 in New York to a high of 22.1 in Atlanta.

While U.S. federal law does not mandate pay for time not worked, many European countries are required by law to provide as many as 38 days of paid leave, according to a December report by Mercer global consulting firm.

Employees in Austria and Malta have the potential for the most vacation time with 38 days of statutory holiday entitlements and public holidays, spokeswoman Stacy Bronstein said Thursday.

In the U.S., vacation and holiday policies vary widely, she said, though many organizations provide three weeks of vacation after five to 10 years of service.

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by Paula Burkes
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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