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.
In Oklahoma, more and more employers are trying to be flexible about vacation time, industry observers say. And Rogers County employees have been granted enhanced vacation packages, effective Aug. 1.
Human resources expert Jim Farris knows some employers who still grant no vacation time to employees in the year they're hired, if they start in the back half of the year. But that's the exception, he said.
“To attract and retain good employees, especially senior-level ones, we're seeing more companies match vacation times of former employers or give workers time off without pay,” Farris said.
Meanwhile, most of the 278 people who work for Rogers County now can look forward to 18 paid vacation days a year versus 10, and the newly granted ability to roll over unused time from one year to the next.
“We wanted to bring our policy in line with the state statutes, and reward our employees who haven't had pay raises in the past five years,” human resources director Jenny Bentley said. Employees also now may accrue up to 120 hours of sick time a year, or an additional 24 hours, she said. Unused sick time is added to retirees' pensions.