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Why don't most Americans take all their vacation time?
May 22nd, 2012
03:25 PM ET

Why don't most Americans take all their vacation time?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With Memorial Day weekend - and the unofficial start to summer - just around the corner, many Americans have no vacation time in sight.

A recent study shows 57% of working Americans had unused vacation time at the end of last year.

And most of them had about 11 days left over, or nearly 70% of their allotted time off. Who takes only 30% of their vacation?

Well, one of the biggest reasons people skip their vacation is because they feel like they have too much work. Others say they can't afford to travel - no surprise in this economy. And still others say they are afraid to take time off from work in an unstable job market, also not surprising with unemployment stuck above 8%.

Meanwhile, the U.S. plays by different rules than most other developed countries when it comes to vacation. The law here doesn't require companies to offer any paid vacation to employees.

Nevertheless the average American worker gets 13 paid days off. Compare that with Italy, where the average worker gets 42 days off. In France, it’s 37 days off.

And guess what? Nearly 90% of the French use all of their vacation time. Insert your own joke here.

Experts say a lot of this is cultural. Many of these countries also have strong labor unions. Some European cities, such as Paris, practically shut down for part of the summer when everyone goes on vacation.

As for Americans, the trend is for people to take long weekends instead of one- or two-week vacations.

It's understandable that people are worried to leave the office for too long in our shaky economy; but it does make it harder to recharge your batteries and get a mental break from work.

Here’s my question to you: Why don't most Americans take all their vacation time?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Posted by
Filed under: On Jack's radar • United States • Vacation
soundoff (172 Responses)
  1. Jim, Denver CO

    Jack,
    Because we are all working like dogs to keep our jobs and to make ends meat. Companies only want worker bees, and drive them hard to make the next quarters profits for our 1% overlords.

    May 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  2. Russ in PA

    Sorry, I'd answer this, but I'm taking the day off...

    Ron Paul in 2012...

    May 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  3. ranch111

    They love killing themselves.

    May 21, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  4. pat in michigan

    Gee,I don't know Jack.Could it be we are protecting our money from the second impending financial apocolypse.Or is it because we could be blown out of the sky,poisoned in the subway ,derailed,kidnapped,shot or blown up or can't get a second mortgage for gas for the trip?Ah America.The land of prosperity! makes ya all fuzzy doesn't it?

    May 21, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  5. jeff from florida

    Why not? Because with todays business environment, when you return from vacation you dont have a job!
    These are benefits, you're not supposed to actually use them.

    May 21, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  6. Pete in Georgia

    Several reasons could be :
    1) They need the money they get by working thru vacation time, in some cases.
    2) They get swamped at work and their conscience takes over.
    3 ) They desperately want to impress their boss by how loyal they are to their job.

    And last but not least......................they LOVE their job !!

    May 21, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  7. Tyrone Pettway

    Cause most Americans only get a 1-2% annual raise that money is spent already. Only executives get the fruit of our labor.

    May 21, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  8. Gary H. Boyd

    It's an IMAGE thing Jack. A way by which an employee can demonstrate committment to the job and dedication to the company. Since perception is often greater than reality, it's an easy way to con the boss. Kinda like giving 110 percent without really doing so.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    May 21, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  9. Gary in San Jose, California

    There are many reasons. Your vacation balance is a savings account in case you get laid off. You spend money instead of earning and saving when you vacation instead of work. There is a negative perception of vacation users in a competitive work place. Some just forget so thanks for reminding me. I'll be vacationing again soon.

    May 21, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  10. Michael Bindner, Alexandria VA

    Some people only use if every few years to take a longer vacation when they do take something – or they save vacation so that if they get sick, they don't miss a meal (its cheaper than AFLAC). Finally, taking a good vacation takes money and credit. May people have neither, especially if they are undwater on their home mortgages. If people can get out from under their debt, they will travel again.

    May 21, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  11. tom Bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    Vulture capitalists could buy any company at any minute and send anyone on a permanent vaction. When that happens, if you are lucky enough to be able to use vacation time to hold off poverty, you are glad of it.

    May 21, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  12. MYSTEROIUS

    Speaking for myself, I use all of my vacation annually, leaving three days for emergencies. If they don't want their vacation days, tell them to hollatchagirl!!

    May 21, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  13. calaurore9

    American business culture rewards being on the job 24/7. Unlike many other countries, where everyone takes time off. But, that is changing in the global economy. Even Paris is no longer empty in August.

    Carol in Northampton, Ma

    May 21, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  14. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    I really don't know I never had that problem. I never had much vacation time but what I had I always used up. But today it might be a different story. I think many people cannot afford to go on vacation and feel taking too much vacation time might jeopardize their job even though they are entitled to it. The only ones that I see using their vacation time with quite frequency are the news networks and TV shows plus we can not forget the 1% who lay around soaking up the sun on private islands and large yachts.

    May 21, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  15. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    The fear of leaving for vacation just to come back and discover that you no longer have a job is a growing concern of those of us fortunate enough to have a job.

    May 21, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  16. Rich McKinney, Texas

    There are many reasons I suppose however the one that stands out the most is that they are afraid to take time off because they can not afford to do anything or go anywhere. With the price of gas and airfare restrictions along with being felt up by TSA every time you attempt to board an aircraft, it limits the ability and desire of people to travel. Face it Jack America is no longer the home of the free. People can not go anywhere without taxes, laws, rules, regulations and fees.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  17. Bill of New Mexico

    1) Vacations are expensive.

    2) Bills, yard, garden, etc. require quicker attention.

    3) Pets may have to be put in a kennel.

    4) Companies put more restrictions on when and how much vacation can be taken at any one time.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  18. RickFromDetroit

    The reason that most Americans don't take their vacation is: [1] They can't afford to. [2] They are afraid that their employer will replace them if they stay away from the job too long.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  19. Loren, Chicago

    Because if we do, we might find ourselves without a job. C'mon Jack, stop asking the obvious questions. This economy is in deep trouble and the only people who seem to act on it are those trying to protect their jobs. And I don't count Congress and the President as having jobs, because clearly they are not acting as if they care to protect them.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  20. John from Alabama

    Jack: Many companies pay their employees, if they do not take their vacation time. The touch economy makes it more inviting to take ones vacation in cash or double pay for the weeks or time not taken. Most Americans are anal about their jobs. They believe the company or business can not do without them, or they are afraid the boss might think a more permament vacation is required. They are afraid of being fired. I am retired from three different jobs, and I use to take every day of vacation I had coming to me. It improved my morale, and the morale of those working around me.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  21. David Gerstenfeld

    1) There's the obvious, money. 2) I've had jobs that only allowed me to take vacations on specific dates that didn't fit the family schedule; & 3) There are companies that allow you to work your vacation days to make extra money. Other countries do not allow this and almost demand you take vacations for the good of the employee & company.
    David, Las Vegas

    May 21, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  22. acajunthatsagun

    Because they are stupid.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  23. Brad, Portland, OR

    Because bosses explicitly or implicitly tell employees that if they're not in the office or working remotely, then they're not team players, and are expendable in the next round of layoffs.

    It's management by fear, which is one of the reasons unions were invented.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  24. jk in MN

    I think because a number of us have complicated jobs that someone can't step right in and do and we feel guilty about being gone. The airline industry doesn't make vacations easy either with the high fares and fee for this, fee for that. It's costly for a family to travel. Not enough competition to keep prices in check.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  25. CW from Irondale

    Personally, I think anyone who does NOT take all their vacation days is stupid. People who don't take down time wind up with all kinds of stress-related illness. Not taking the vacation days to which you are entitled gives the message that it's ok for people to walk all over you and that you have no life. You get much more respect if you HAVE a life and something that is meaningful outside the workplace. Otherwise, you make yourself a slave, and you get what you deserve.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  26. R L Guthrie

    They cannot afford to.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  27. Bob S Philadelphia , Pa

    Because your worried you will get fired for missing time my wife has 4 weeks of vacation and she won't take 1 day for fear the company will blow her out and she has been with the company 15 years.It's a DAMN shame the American worker has to feel that way, work your self to death and worry every day weather you have a job to go to.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  28. Ken in Pinon Hills, California

    Most working American's buying power is rapidly fading in an era where there is no gravity on the galloping rise in the cost of goods, and they can't afford it. Credit card use imprisons many, and debt makes vacations out of the question.
    In this bad job market there are those who fear if they vacation, they won't be missed, and the business will get along without them, and it's Sayonara.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  29. Matt

    Because they can't afford to. It costs money they don't have and many feel threatened about being replaced. Of course we could have everyone get six – eight weeks like in Europe – look where that got them.

    Matt
    Rockford

    May 21, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  30. Jenna Roseville CA

    Why don't most Americans take all their vacation time?

    Jack, if American companies did not treat their employees like SLAVES they would be able to take their vacations.

    Americans are expected to be "available" to their companies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can't even go home for the day and decompress without having to check phone messages, email messages, etc.

    Plus depending on the state that you work in you a company can stopyou from accuring vacation hours verses having the company pay you for the hours that you do not get to take. AND those states that pay you for the hours in excess of a vacation "cap" is taxed at a higher rate.

    There ought to be a Federal Law that states that companies can't abuse their employees after hours and keep them from accruing vacation hours in excessive of some "CAP" without paying the employee for them in a seperate paycheck so it is not taxed in excess.

    Sad isn't it Jack? In this economy companies are taking far more advantage of the American worker than ever than before. Threatening employees with "You can be replaced"

    No wonder Americans can't take the much needed vacation!

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    May 21, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  31. Bob K Youngstown Ohio

    We have all been convinced that the company can't make it without us or we just need more posessios,. Most of all of the European countries get more vacation time than we do, and they use it. For the most part the majority have a retirement age that is earlier than ours, and they retire. We simply just have it all wrong.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  32. Henry, Sterling Hts, Mi.

    Some are workaholics, some are afraid they'll be let go, and the rest just can;t afford it.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  33. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Fear is an evil thread in life and people want job security but companies today have their employees in handcuffs. Other people are just plain idiots for not taking time away from work even if they don't go any place but many people in America would be bored just sitting at home watching politics on TV.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  34. Andrew Wede

    Someone has to do the work while all of our government workers are at meetings and conferences at exotic places on the taxpayers dime.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  35. Jayne in NH

    I'm self-employed. What is this "vacation time" you speak of?

    May 21, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  36. Ed from California

    Have you priced the gallon of gas lately, Jack? Plane fare isn't cheap, and they now charge you for your luggage. The price of hotel lodging, food, transportation, isn't affordable. If you go overseas, Americans are hated. We start wars and crash world economies, so who is going to welcome us with open arms? Nobody. But really who can afford to go on Vacation? Just the 1%!! Mr. Boehner, "Where are the jobs"???

    May 21, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  37. H.R

    Most people find time and money to do whatever they want. Maybe they have children in sports all summer like we did and they can't leave them behind. This is from old folks that had very little money in the 80's when Reagan was in office. My husband had 20 yrs. in at Int. Harvester and the place closed. He was out of work for 1 and a half yrs. and finally found a low pay job. It was a bad situation with Reagan, (the bad times President.) If Romney gets in it will be a lot worse since he is only for the wealthy. No elevator man, Please!!

    May 21, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  38. al in Delaware

    I don't know about most Americans, but before I retired I always took all of my vacation time. It takes two weeks to properly relax, especially if you plan a trip.

    May 21, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  39. Paul From Round Rock, Texas

    Because there is a fear when you come back you may not be needed or replaced once out of sight.

    May 21, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  40. Bob K

    Hey Jack, you seem to be on vacation every Friday, If you do the math that's 52 vacation days, the French and Italians got nothing on you.

    May 21, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  41. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    The cost of a vacation probably stops more people from taking your typical "vacation", especially the ones promoted by cruise lines and resorts. The loss of our middle-class will reduce the need for "paid vacations" by employers, since the labor force will have no bargaining power.

    May 21, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  42. Tom in Desoto, TX

    I always took all my vacation days and would have liked more.I'm guessing they fear for their job. By the way, when was the last Friday you worked?

    May 21, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  43. Bob Melbourne, FL

    Americans have become much more efficient than our European counterparts. Our companies run much leaner and we’re afraid our boss can see the company would still run just as well in our absence which might indicate they don’t need us as much as we need them. Not a good position to be in considering our government is less business friendly than any country in the world. Also, most non-union workers don’t feel the need to bleed our companies out of existence.

    May 21, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  44. David, in hot and sunny Tampa

    I can think of 2 reasons. First, taking your allotted time off may mean placing an undue burden on the already overworked and stressed workforce in your place of employment. A consequence of leaner, more productive operations wanted by management. Second, you may return from vacation and have your boss ask "What are you doing here? Didn't you get the message that your position has been terminated?"

    May 21, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  45. steve c. in miami

    Jack, Its simple to understand, for those who have paid vacation days they just dont have enough money in the bank to spend on a vacation. Out touch people like the Mormon Mittster have no worries with money concerning his several vacations a year,and he would be foolish to critize Obama,after Bush took record vacation time. I havent had a REAL vacation since1991

    May 21, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  46. Bob in Texas

    Jack, you know darn well why. We're just afraid we won't have a job when we get back. We're afraid our employers will decide they can do without us. It's really that simple.

    May 21, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  47. Jennifer M in Winnipeg

    You have listed just about every answer to your question in your blog. But I think that the main reason is that they just can't afford the time away from work. With so many jobs lost, the ones who are still working have to take up the slack, which means they probably put in very long hours. It's highly unlikely they get paid overtime either, but they need the work, so they don't complain and to keep the work current, they can't afford to take the time away. They're probably afraid the job won't be there when they return.

    May 21, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  48. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: At this point in time in our economy, they are afraid of loosing their jobs-–and then on the other hand-–some Americans are on vacation most of the year at work--Congress comes to mind!

    May 21, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  49. Gigi Oregon

    I think it's fear, if you don't show up for work someone could prove they could do your job better. It's called Capitalization...simple as that. It's like we all have to buy insurance but...if you use it they raise your rate...again it's called capitalization. Everyone...says but we are free... We also belong to the Capitalist from the cradle to the grave. They can't (won't) pay higher tax rates so you get to pay their share. It's capitalising on the lower class...We have been clothed in fear. Fear of other countries, religions, governments, Immigrants taking our jobs, wars and rumor of wars. And we sit idly by watching our government officals taking bribes to support more capitalization of the 99%. Happy vacation this summer... as you wait for some capitalist to come, down size or move your company overseas. It happened to us in the 80's through the mid 90's. Now are grand children are experiencing our parents and grandparents history during the late 20" to WWII. Banks failing, depression, war, and recession.The only "fear to fear is fear, is fear it's self..." Take your vacation...and get a back bone and vote out the drones who brag about making President Obama a one term President. Sitting on their hands and not letting government work...just to make President Obama look bad.

    May 21, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  50. CRAIG R. MCNEES

    tampa, fl i was always told i was needed, right up until they laid me off. got plenty of time off then.

    May 21, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  51. Daniel

    I save them till the end of the year... Nothing better than a week off between Christmas and new years

    May 21, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  52. Mr. D

    Why is everthing always "cultural?" I guess it's "cultural" for people in this country to work, pay taxes and keep the rest of the world glued together so their citizens can go on vacation. Congress seems to promote this action since they seem to favor their vacation time. Guess it's just their culture.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  53. Willy in Las Vegas

    because we are not a bunch of LOAFS like YOU, Cafferty, who take every Friday off

    May 21, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  54. EdfromMd

    Workaholics afraid to break up their routine.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  55. thom richer

    Jack,

    You have just about answered your own question Covered most of the reasons with the exception of one. That being, the fact that it is many times not worth it to take an extended period away from work because the work is there waiting for you when you come back along with the continuation of your daily routine and duties. Many employers do not cover vacationing employees with a temp or spread duties out among the staff. Consequently, you have twice as much to do when you return and not time to catch up.

    As far as making jokes about the French workers goes, they and other countries which have more time off during the year than American workers, save the jokes because the joke is on us and the employers. European workers are much better off physically, mentally and their morale and attitude toward their job and employer are much higher and more positive than American workers. Thus, more production and efficiency for the employer in less time.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    May 21, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  56. Mark in Houston

    Because jack.... We're too busy trying to become some sort of imaginary person within the confines of our jobs. Too many of us don't know how to simply relax in our own skin. Then when many of us retire or are laid off ,we have no life and are completely ...lost.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  57. Richard Oak Harbor, Wa

    Vacations cause high interest credit card debt. Rising transportation costs more than offset bargain vacation destination deals. Workplace demands are difficult to put aside while on vacation to forget ongoing workplace obligations. It's much easier for a government employee to take a vacation than an employee from a small company with a limited workforce. A great vacation is one that you need another vacation when you're supposed to be back at work.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  58. Kevin in CA

    A lot of people can't afford to go anywhere or do anything, so take the vacation days as pay. Besides, there is no guarantee they'd even have a job when they got back. In other words, it boils down to fear and insecurity with a sprinkling of Puritan work ethic.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  59. jdoe

    Why? It's pretty obvious. When the company lays off half the department and doubles your work load, it's hard to take time off even if you want to. You don't want to appear "lazy" now do you, or you'll be the next one to go.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  60. Chris L

    My company offers me to sell them back my vacation time for a paycheck. With 3 weeks vacation now I still have 2 weeks to take but mostly I take long weekends because I dont like to be away from the office for too long and have someone else mess up my work.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  61. Steve

    That's also why the US has the highest divorce rate per 1000 of any nation, while France and Italy are among the lowest. Talk about focus on the family!

    May 21, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  62. Cherries

    If you have the time, take it! You won't regret it. If affordablity is an issue, who says you have to go all the way to Cabo or the Grand Canyon? Explore your local areas; discover a natural area, or just walk downtown. There are lots and lots of ways to have a fun vacation without breaking the bank. You will also not regret not giving yourself gray hair.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  63. Thomas

    Not being able to afford to take a real vacation is a common reason.

    Coordinating vacation when both partners work can also be problematic.

    For me, I eat up my vacation in single day units when I need to take time off for repairmen, medical appointment, and anything dealing with the kids.

    It has been years since I have taken two consecutive vacation days.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  64. JJ11

    Pretty simple explanation...money, or lack thereof. Gas prices seem to always go up during the summer and around holidays, and if that weren't enough, places like amusement parks are not cheap, 30-60 dollars per person, then when you get in all of the food is outrageously overpriced. Camping? Some of the local spots around where I live get 40-50 dollars a night for a simple tent site.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  65. California Gary

    Too much of a hassle Jack. Who will watch the house, bring in the mail and the newspapers? Who will feed the dog and water the grass? Much easier to arrange those things for a couple of days that for 3 weeks. And who can afford to fly or drive anywhere these days?

    May 21, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  66. Andy

    Jack, I seem to be the very guy you are talking about. I "cash in" allot of my vacation time and when I do take some time off its a long weekend because I can't imagine how far behind I would be at work if I did go away for a week or more. The workplace is too fast paced to leave for an extended time period.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  67. nolongerarepublican

    Most Americans don't take their vacation time, because they know when they come back, there will be someone else where they used to work as punishment for not being a slave and a profit maker by hiring a lower paid worker.
    End of story.
    Anarchistic Capitalism rules the US.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  68. Bob

    skip vacation? Heck no!!! I'm out of here in less than 5 days on my vacation!!

    May 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  69. Susan-NJ

    Some of the people I've worked with and I see in stores when i am shopping are on vacation all the time-3hour lunches 2 hour runs to Dunkin chats with friends in stores 1 works while 3 stand around and chat. Vacation would be work especially the traveling part.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  70. Kevin in CA

    Because if you don't work really, really hard, you'll never become another Bill Gates or Steve Jobs like you're told to be – you know – the everyone's an entrepreneur / inventor kind of thingy.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  71. allisonb216

    Luckily, at my job, I won't lose my vacation if I don't take it. It accumulates..to a certain point, but that is over 200 hours (which is how my vacation is counted). I get 10 hours a month and it accumulates. We don't get all our vacation (i.e. 2 weeks) and the beginning of the year. I don't have a problem taking a week or so off for a trip. I figured I've earned it and my work will be there when I get back. I usually hold on to vacation days if I want to save it for another trip later on.

    Galveston, TX.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  72. samsart

    I I worked in the medical field for 36 years. 23 of those in acute care. IF you got vacation, it was usually 5-10 days. IF you could clear it, then you might take it. But, that means the rest of the staff will work 'short', not easy to do in a 24/7 365 field. When you took days off, it was a mess getting up to speed on what had happened and/or changed. Sometimes it was just better to not take it; you had a better chance of keeping your position that way. When I worked in sub-acute care- not enough staff for you to be off, so usually a time was agreed upon , and the office would shut down entirely, then open back up. Money is a huge factor, some employers offer time off, but it's not paid time off. And who can afford to take that kind of financial hit, especially when your kids are little. The mindset of most of the my co-workers was to maybe take one day here and there. Given we all worked holidays and weekends, it came down to negotiating with your supervisor or co-workers as to when you could get some time off.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  73. Alex

    I rarely take all my vacation time; and when I DO take it, I end up feeling guilty and selfish about it. Part of it could be that no one else in my office knows how to do my job as well as I can do it, essentially making me and my position more valuable. That's great from a job-security standpoint, but not so much when it comes time for myself. I also don't feel I adequately play that card because it's not worth the risk (having a family to support and all, you know).

    Yes, the fact that I don't want to leave my co-workers scrambling to take care of business when I'm not around is my own problem, but should that really be my problem rather than corporate's problem? Perhaps that backup is a luxury we can't afford, and that big-picture decision is way above my pay grade. But it doesn't help my professional image or my own self-esteem when the first question out of my supervisor's mouth when I ask for a few days off next month isn't "Any exciting plans?" or "How much time do you need?", but rather "Didn't you just take a day off last month?" It feels like I'm asking my father if I can borrow the car and stay out an hour past curfew, when it should feel like I'm asking a friend to hold my mail.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  74. kr

    After just five years in the workforce, I've found it's easier to not stop and keep going in regards to work. That or living in America makes you dead inside.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  75. Al - Orlando

    Shaky jobs and kids..

    May 21, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  76. Daniel

    Fear and lack of money. For those with paid vacation making under 6 figures it is because the constant media coverage of the horrible economy has people terrified of taking any time off from work. They are programmed to behave like the insecure spouse who refuses to spend away from their other half. Those without paid vacation just can't afford it when they are living pay check to pay check. It is really not that complicated.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  77. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    As an example, for us, a cookout with hotdogs and hamburgers (70% lean) is great. Add Amish potato salad and then it's a vacation !

    May 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  78. curtis in philadelphia

    Jack, as you get older you get three things: bald spots, liver spots and wisdom; the other countries mentioned, those cultures are older and therefore wiser than ours. In their cultures they work to live, in ours, we live to work. Sad but true.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  79. Glider2001

    It's not surprising when you consider corporate management's attitude toward workers. Having spent 21 years in military service and then 26 years in the corporate environment, corporate management does not look too kindly on employees that consistently take all of their vacation, especially in 2 week increments. I also knew many folks who would take only a portion of their allocated vacation in order to cash-out any end-of-year balance.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  80. chris

    the real question is why does congress take so much time off besides the month of aug and the president while gettign paid for all their time off throughout the year gettign bloatted salaries and benefits while we the average taxpayer is struggling to make ends meet is the real question

    May 21, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  81. Saboth

    Yeah, want to know why our health sucks? It's not just diet and excercise. We are all overworked and underpaid. That's a fact. I get 10 days off per year, and I take them all. That's not much. We recognize 5 holidays. That's not much. Each day is extremely precious to me. If Americans only worked 40 hours a week and had ample time off (like 30 per year), they'd be more well rested, in better shape mentally and physically...their family unit wouldn't be so stressed, we'd have less divorce, children would be around parents more and would be better disciplined. It's a major factor in the decline of our country. Profits go up as people work longer, but everything else suffers.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  82. Nick in Toronto

    Americans don't seem to know how to just relax. They always seem to need to be connected to their offices even when on vacation. Not taking a vacation should not be something to brag about. I am surprised American businesses don't force their employees to take at least one full week off at a time, it would likely improve their employees work habits and the companies profits.
    Of course a lot of Americans don't seem to play well outside of your own borders but I am told there are still some nice places in America you can holiday in without having to learn about another country, or how to say please and thank you in another language.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  83. Donaldo in ATL

    The key is to work & vacation together, with technology this certainly is feasible. Basically, most of us are so insecure that we do not take time away which in many ways contributes to our many social, physcological, and health issues.
    Balance, as in most things in life, is the answer.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  84. dk

    not a lot of room for debate here, a combination of finances, workload, and the way one will be perceived in the office.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  85. Burbank

    Maybe that picture you chose to show with wall to wall people is why.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  86. Jack Kramer

    It is George Bush's fault!!

    May 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  87. Dan

    There are several reasons.
    As stated in the article, money is tight. And it gets tighter every time someone in another country gets a hangnail and prices soar/the market tanks.
    With government officials daily reminding us that we should live under a cloud of (manufacured) fear and the accompanying increase of "security"measures, people are finding it difficult to subject themselves to much of the same type of demeaning abuse while on vacation that the vacation is supposed to be an escape from.
    Then you have the new American business model of "charge more, deliver less (if anything at all), that has escalated over the past few years making people wonder why they should throw more money down the "vacation experience" rat hole.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  88. Brandon Haire

    Most companies frown on employees using earned vacation time. I am lucky to have worked for companies that have opposing views on the work/life balance, one who had a culture opposing and just short of punishing vacation use, Safeway, and one, Vail Resorts, who applauded and encouraged vacation use. The culture and work environment of a company that offers a work/life balance CLEARLY wins the fight. unfortunatly, those companies are few and far between.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  89. C Oliver

    Hey Jack if your unemployed or earn minimum wages which is 60% of our population then very hard to afford any kind of vacation.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  90. MC in TX

    Is it that hard to understand? 50 years ago when job security actually meant something you could trust that not being the most devoted worker wouldn't put your family at risk. Today, the reality is that when downsizing happens the people seen as the most dedicated are frequently the ones that are kept. It's just a reality. Unfortunately if we want to have a totally capitalistic economy that is one of the consequences. The only way that it could be avoided is if the government mandated that workers could not opt out of taking vacation.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  91. Phil

    That's a great question. I normally took all or most of my vacation time but actually felt guilty at times. I now own my own business and I never feel guilty taking time off and do try to take as much a 4 to 6 weeks off a year.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  92. Terry in Virginia

    Two reasons: (1) They can't afford to take a vacation. Who has the money? (2) If they take off from work, they may return to find they no longer have a job. Finances and fear, two driving forces in the real economy for the middle class and the poor.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  93. George in PA

    Insecurity. They try to create the illusion that they're indispensible. As more people in the firm do it, it makes someone using all their vacation look like slackers!

    May 21, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  94. Jack In Silicon Valley

    I think you've already used my answer, Jack. I want to appear as productive as possible to my clients, and being out of the office for any reason reduces the image of productivity. I'll take vacation when I can afford to retire.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  95. Edwin H Kribbs

    It's to keep your job stupid! Mine was exported! People who take off can be replaced by foreigners at jobs abroad or at jobs here at home. Jobs that are nor exported get replaced by imported foreign workers. Thanks to foreign student visas, and when Nixon started it all when he went to China to negotiate detente.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  96. mycroft lake travis texas

    It's because of the high percentage of people with jobs that offer vacation, are of a mind to save them for a rainy day or days when they really need to take one. True there are other reasons as well like insecurity , they if they take vacation and their employer or fellow workers might discover they enjoy not having them there, a person like that clings to his job for fear of losing it. With all the important issues of the day, I wonder if you could continue to ask more questions like this. I got one too, for you Jack, you should ask your viewing audience if they prefer miniature golf over bowling. We should all forget about solving all our problems, Global Warming, Big Oil, White Collar Crimes and War Criminals, and just think of stupid stuff, maybe watch Springer.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  97. George from Raleigh, North Carolina

    Vacations? I heard of those.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  98. Ben, KY in Austin TX

    Can I ask a question, why do we care what the Europeans do? Who says they are right about vacation time, maybe we are right about vacation time. Our economy has been growing albeit very slowly, theirs have not.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  99. steve WA

    With the job market the way it is people are afraid their rich bosses will give their job to someone else while they are gone.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  100. liz

    I don't get sick days, so I have to use vacation days for that AND the last time I checked vacations cost $, some cost more $$$$ than others, but you still must have it otherwise you are sitting on the couch surfing the web all day.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  101. 1grasshopper

    They can afford to take a vaction, besides you'd need a second job to pay for gas.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  102. Scott from Florida

    Since I went to school in the first half of the year, and went to 33 hours a week at work, my company put me at part time, so i don't get paid vacation time, so if I take vacation, I don't get paid for those days I miss.

    Maybe if we got mandatory paid time off, like in other countries, we wouldn't have an overworked and underpaid work force.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  103. Guy Williams

    Reasons: (1). Americans, for the most part, have very strong work ethics. (2). We fear losing our jobs if we aren't at our desk every day other workers see our absence and maneuver for an opening. (3). We barely keep our heads above water with the work load we have; setting it aside for 2 weeks or longer means an unconquerable mountain of backlog when we return. That's why we don't take vacations.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  104. Oleg

    Because vacations are overhyped? Why get robbed by the airlines and molested by TSA just to spend the whole week with your own overstimulated and cranky kids? There are much more enjoyable ways to spend the same money locally on the weekend.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  105. D.Jo

    Vacation in the United States is a farce. For task oriented jobs, work doesn't disappear just because you are on vacation. It merely accumulates and awaits for you to return so you can squeeze in all the time that you missed.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  106. rc

    Because we want to get ahead so our President can tell us that we don't pay our fair share.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  107. Jim

    Jack,

    I'm retired now but I was the same way. I never took all of my paid vacation. I think the reason was that a week off to travel to some fun place coupled with normal holiday time off was enough to keep me recharged. I remember that I never looked forward to getting back after a week off as it would normally take me several days to catch up on emails, phone calls, missed meetings, etc. Americans are a productive bunch. It's just the way we prefer to be.

    Jim
    Reno, Nevada

    May 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  108. Craig from Pa.

    You have to be in Congress to get the best vacation package in America....and they do indeed use every bit of it....

    May 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  109. toadlife

    It can all be traced to the decline of labor unions.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  110. kevin

    This helps explain the huge cost of health care in this country. If more people would take their time off and heal mentally, spirtiually and physically, it would go a long way to reduce overall health costs. I believe this would help many people deal with mental health issues at work such as.. depression and anxiety. Not that I am a big fan of everything that goes on in Europe, but the idea of mandating time off for all employees would greatly help this country.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  111. Jay

    Because we are stupid sheeples. Everybody seems to be afraid of something in this so-called "free" country.. We are free to shut up and pay your taxes, and that is about it.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  112. fla5183

    I routinely take 2 weeks at a time off a year and then take the remainder as long weekends throughout the year. If I worked 80 hour weeks there'd still be another 80 hour week waiting behind it. It's not worth my sanity to work myself into the grave. My company gives me 4 weeks paid vacation a year and expects me to take the time, get my attitude adjusted and come back to work rested, refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to take on the assignments.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  113. justin

    They can't afford to take vacation? it's Paid Time Off for a reason. USE it! Think of it as free money, without having to work. take the vacation go off for a week in the summer and again in the late fall or early winter time. if you get sick and have to miss work, they have sick time for that too, and if that's not enough, you have what's called FMLA for unpaid sick time, to get better. your job will be there when ya get back.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  114. Paul P.

    Its a great question. Hopefully its fear and not pride. I don't know of anyone laying on their deathbed looking back at their lives saying 'I wish I'd spent more time at the office.'

    May 21, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  115. Joe D.

    1) Most large corporation no longer have any attachment or loyalty to their employees. The companies will replace them at a drop of the hat with offshore or visa workers, or simply slash their position for short term gain. It makes people uneasy about leaving their work vulnerable for more than 2-3 days at a time. It also often makes them work longer hours when companies slash staffs and expect fewer people to make the same production.
    2) The cost of living has risen more than the the level or wages. This also makes people leary about leaving work for any extended period of time, for fear they are seen as dedicated enough. This is particularly true with healthcare, transportation, education, and food.
    3) Particularly in the IT field, even if you are not laid off, you are often working among peers from places like India, who have no problem working 50-60 hours a week. If you don't come near that, you are very likely expendable when it comes time for layoffs, especially if you already earn twice as much as the meager wage the foreign workforce is willing to accept. (I have noting again people from India. They are among the nicest and humblest people around, though they are exploited a lot by our corporations.)
    4) The attitude has become engrained that work is your life until retirement in order to keep up with what has become a very materialistic world. People feel the need to have the latest, fastest, and largest fads on the market.

    (From someone laid off from the megabanks during the banking crisis, after 20 years of service.)

    May 21, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  116. Mike

    I think it's because they work for terrible bosses in bad work environments. If a company cares about its employees it will care more about their well-being and morality than hours on a clock. A happy, healthy person will get more solid work done in 40 hours than a tired, unhappy person will in 60.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  117. Lagos

    I don't take vacation because time off from work costs me money. Yes, I get PTO. However, if I don't use that PTO, the money is mine when I leave the company. If I use PTO, I'm choosing to receive that money earlier to fill in for the money I'm not getting by working. It may sound silly, but my last day is roughly 3 weeks from now and I have over 100 hours of PTO coming my way. That's like a free paycheck and a quarter.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  118. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Companies offer it's employees a "paid earned vacation" and I still don't understand what that means if I'm not earning anymore money to take a vacation.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  119. Marley

    Im a state employee. (Go ahead and snicker). I havent had a raise in 5 years. Because I have been in this dead end, low paying job for 26 years now I earn about 19 hours a month leave time. That is on top of the 12 state holidays alloted to me. I must use all of my holidays or they get turned over to sick leave. I have about 900 hours of sick leave stored away and the only way I can use them (other than being sick) is when I get ready to retire, I can use the remaining sick leave to make it so I retire earlier. So at age 59 which is in 3 years, I will have a full retirement including insurance for life. I take every damn vacation day thats coming to me. I dont have to impress anyone .My boses are comfortably clueless and they dont even know when Im gone unless they signed the leave papers. I cant wait to get out of the rat race and make EVERYDAY a vacation day!

    May 21, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  120. Oliver

    We have a culture of hard work in America, which is something in which we should be proud. Most of Europe does the 35 hour work week. We do 40...but lets be honest, more like 50. Its capitalism. We are brought up to believe the harder you work the more you are rewarded.

    It does backfire, however, both our physical and mental health suffers from lack of sleep, over work. We should take more time off, we should take an hour for lunch, but in the ultra competitive and cutthroat environment we live in it will never happen. There is always someone willing to work longer and through those hours, and when it comes time for promotion, that someone needs to be me.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  121. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    I get two weeks of vacation, but it is NOT PAID. If I do take time off there is a good chance that my job will not be there or I will be transfered to another place or shift. But, I still find a way to get to Breckenridge Colorado every year.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  122. Cindy

    Taking a vacation means working extra hard before you go, so that your projects don't blow up for another co-worker covering for you while you're gone. Then working extra hard when you get back because some things did blow up when you were gone. You punish your clients, and your over-worked co-worker covering for you. So it's not worth taking a vacation.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  123. Chet Bush

    After spending the Great Recession in college, I am very happy to have rejoined the workforce recently but have only 40 hrs of paid time at my disposal. Fortunately, i can roll some over into next year. :)

    May 21, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  124. chicago7

    At several points in my 40 year-plus career with a major U.S. corporation, I skipped vacations because there was nothing I'd rather be doing than the work I was doing at the time. During the last years of my career, I would've liked to take a real vacation, but more than a long weekend was frowned on, and more than a week at a time was regarded with serious managerial concern, regardless of how much time you had coming. Now I'm retired, on the mother of all vacations, and I happily don't give a flying **** anymore.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  125. Rick

    I use all of my 25 paid vacation days a year. I wish I had more! Why be scared to take a vacation day? If a company fires you over your hard earned vacation days being used, then something is amiss at that corporation. Even if you sit outside and just enjoy the weather, or do some fishing, just get out there and enjoy it. There are many low cost, low key things to do on your "vacation" days. Vacation days at my company expire every year and we are not paid for unused days.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  126. Greg Turman

    Jack;

    How do "most" Americans not take vacation when "most" Americans do not have a job?
    The un employment rate for college educated Americans is also "57%", first time in U.S.history.
    Manufacturing is picking up in the U.S. and manufacturing creates wealth which creates jobs and consumers. The more consumers we have the more jobs we have, which creates tax payers.
    Hard work always pays off and we will all be rewarded, even the chronically unemployed.
    Government needs to get out of the way and let the private sector do what we do best, create tax payers.
    GO U.S.A. !!!!!

    Gregory Turman
    Noonday, Texas

    May 21, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  127. eloe

    We should work to live, not live to work. More vacation and family time would definitely add more quality to our existence. Other countries do it, and their economies are not worse than ours.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  128. MnTaxpayer

    Because most corporate drones think they are more important then they really are.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  129. HoDel

    Many of the commentors on here have stated that fear of losing their jobs is the reason. That fear is put into them by their bosses, the people who reap the benefits of higher productivity. It has been proven many times in many studies that taking vacations will help the health of the employee and thus help the company from lost sick days. However, employers are putting fear into their employees, making them sick, then firing them. They then can replace them with cheaper labor (overseas?).
    These bosses will get the big bonuses at the end of the year, not the average worker who made it all possible. For me, it is obvoius that this sort of management is what the Republicans desire and push. The gap between the wealthy and unwealthy is getting wider, all made possible on the backs of the workers.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  130. mochica

    As a professor if I don't spend the entire summer writing, researching, attending conferences, and preparing future classes I won't have a job for much longer. Every year workers must be more and more competitive to maintain the same job with lower wages and less benefits. More for less, how long can we sustain this?

    May 21, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  131. ulli

    Wow!!! I never missed taking ANY of my vacation during my 30 years being employed.

    And I didnt just sit around the house, watching the grass grow. I traveled.

    64 countries
    7 continents
    3 oceans
    60+ cruises
    All 50 states

    It was expensive; but well worth it.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  132. VacationinJune

    Everyone here is saying the same thing. I say that the same old excuse for not taking a vacation is getting old. Has anyone ever lost their job because of taking a vacation? Do you really think that the place you work for can't operate without you for three or four days. Your employer did fine before you were hired. Can't afford it. How about stay at home for a week and enjoy time with the family. How about going to the local park or pool. A vacation doesn't have to be a trip to the Riviera. There is no excuse for not taking and enjoying paid time off.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  133. DavidW0909

    My company basically forces us to take our PTO, well, not forced, but if we don't use our PTO they will not allow us to roll it into next year but will pay it out at 25% of the normal rate. So YEAH, I'm taking my PTO even if I sit on my bottom at the house and do projects or watch TV.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  134. George Ramos

    I take all of mine and then some if I could. In 63 years of life and 38 years of working I have learned that corporations are not loyal to their employees (for the most part, there are rare exceptions) and on some level promote the idea in a subtle manner that not taking it is loyal to the company. If you do not take it sissy on you.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  135. Publius Novus

    1. Vacations are expensive.

    2. Incomplete data in the survey. Of the 70% of American workers who do not use all of their leave in a given year, how many can carry over days or hours? Gummint workers can carry over 240 hours of leave from year-to-year. Most government workers can cash out unused leave, so as they approach retirement, they do not take leave.

    3. In some firms, unused vacation time can be cashed out in whole or in part.

    4. Some firms restrict the amount of vacation time that can be taken or when it can be taken.

    5. Workers are afraid of being replaced.

    BTW Jack, how much vacation time do you get and how much do you use?

    May 21, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  136. Felixelgato1954@att.net

    I know, I know – no money.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  137. Dàn

    It's a shame but it's true. By now we Americans are used to not taking time off. However, most of us actually realize that we should. In my case with a second person, it's hard to coordinate between us. I also, however, have managers that tell us all the time to get out of here and take some time off. This goes back to the 80's as well. I have no one to blame but myself. Now I am ready for retirement.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  138. Larry in Houston

    been there, done that – & Glad I'm out of the rat race. btw – ask yourself the same question, Cafferty – I mean, YOU DO Fridays, right ?

    May 21, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  139. Martha Brooks

    Am now retired, so am on a permanent "vacation" although I've not been away from home in years. Who can afford it? Only in the first decade of employment was I able to take a "vacation," after that pffft. (Poor Jack, you tried to retire a few years back when you aired in the AM...and CNN watchers protested. So they brought you back. We will never let you "retire!")

    May 22, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  140. Jean

    Its just modern-day slavery. Capitalists are so greedy about money that they don't care about the workers. They pay those congressmen to sink every legislation that would allow major changes for employees.

    May 22, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  141. Michael, from Smiths, Alabama

    Because unlike in Italy and France, our workers are not seen as valuable assets in any company. Perhaps I should move to Italy, where my job would be more appreciated and I could have more time to spend with family and friends, or perhaps its time the US learn from our European brethren and allocate more vacation time for their employees.

    May 22, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  142. Jim Charlotte NC

    People are afraid they will find someone else who won't take any. It is not only vacation time but sadly people are being forced to put in unpaid hours and won't complain because they can be replaced and they know it.

    May 22, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  143. r.landschoot

    because I was afraid of losing my job!!!!!

    May 22, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  144. Ed in California

    Am retired and just returned from a week in Kona, HI. Frankly, wish I had a job to go back to. The airplane there and back was horrible. The food was expensive in Kona and did I mention it was either rainy or overcast the whole time?

    Vacations are overrated!!! Just give me a few bingo cards and some cookies, far cheaper!

    ps: Starbuck's still had the best coffee in Kona, was I surprised!

    May 22, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  145. Sandstone

    "When you have to get out of the house, where better to go than to work. Most can't afford to go anywhere, and even if they could is it safe to leave the city? I've been retired a long time now, and other than my lengthy stay in England many years ago, I've been nowhere!"

    May 22, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  146. Dale N.M.

    Number one reason is can't afford to take all of it, the price of gasoline and food lodging is outrageous.

    And the other factor is too many things need to be done at home, things you have been putting off because you are working.

    May 22, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  147. Tim from Tx

    Kids...would you rather deal with a 40 year old bald guy..or a winey crying 3 year old..however sometimes there isn't much difference

    May 22, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  148. fresto

    Because no one wants to return to the office and given the pink slip.

    May 22, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  149. Alex Landi

    Mt. Shasta, CA

    You already gave us all the reasons, Jack.

    May 22, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  150. Susan from Idaho

    While they are gone someone else might look more appealing to the boss. It's an employers market out there right now. Last but not least travel prices are sky high gas is a rich mans commodity and the air lines are charging more for luggage fees.

    May 22, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  151. Jack

    Jack

    We should all work as hard as congress does then you would see everyone use their time!

    May 22, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  152. Cindy Lou

    Jack, I agree with some of the comments here: it can be a form of "savings", should a person suddenly be terminated. However, I also find that it's the fault of the employer, in the sense that they often deny vacation requests. It seems as though "slow times" are becoming obsolete. Many employees are conscious of times when it would be inappropriate to take time off; but when requests are denied, it's pretty hard to do anything.

    I feel fortunate that I have always been able to take all of my vacation time. It's a choice that I made, and it's a choice I always fought for.

    May 22, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  153. Wayne

    You have a vacation coming to you and you don't take it? I just do not understand, unless those people are "brown-nosers". No money for a traveling vacation? What's wrong with staying at home and catching up on things since you work too much? People are drinking too many of those energy drinks!

    Wayne,

    Portage, Indiana

    May 22, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  154. superdle

    It is difficult to take vacation in a skeleton crew work environment when companies have been laying people off just to stay afloat.

    May 22, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  155. Doug

    Because we save it for our severence pay...

    May 22, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  156. Brandon Gardner

    We are the only industrialized nation in the world that doesn't have government mandated time off. Even in China they have mandated vacation. I think we are missing the boat here. Personally I believe this would be a great way to solve our unemployment issue. The more time you give off to people the more workers you would have to hire. Seems like a win – win to me. But can you imagine how hard corporations would fight that? I also believe you would see much higher productivity when people were at work, but who wants happy, healthy, stable workers? Corporations would rather have you scared and a slave to your job.

    May 22, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  157. Lucinda

    You know how it is on the mean streets of Topeka. We have to be there to defend our turf. And the money is great when they pay us for the vacation at the end of the year.

    May 22, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  158. Patrick from Oregon

    Many who work making minimum wages or near it are unable to afford a vacation. heck we can barely afford to buy gas to get to work.

    May 22, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  159. Junior @ S.C.

    No vacation , Well if you have a job your working your bunns off to keep it .If you dont theres no money to go on . And with high food ,gas, and every thing else there is nothing else left for vacation . I used some of mine to work around the house.

    May 22, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  160. don smotzer

    They don't take it because they are broke. The country is broke and Washington is broken, but they kept a little back for hookers. To hear them say it all is well. When are the people of this country going to wake up and see that they have been cooking the books on the economy.

    May 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  161. Sunshine

    Jack,
    For 30 years I worked in the corporate world. I was owner of a business with 12 other people. Everytime I went on vacation,
    when I would come back, I had more issues that had to be fixed, more work because no one wanted to touch my things, and more headaches than before I left. That was when I decided the hell with it. No more vacations. I didn't get paid either if I didn't take my vacation. Sick days were like this too. It was just easier to go to work and not worry about what I would be facing when I came back.
    By the Jack, I think you are one Awesome guy. Thank you for what you do.

    May 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  162. Dan Fleury

    I was just reminded last week that I have over 170 hours of Paid Time Off built up. It feels like it was only half a year ago that I was in the same position so I liquidated (cashed out) half of it in exchange for an extra pay check instead. I watch an old folks home and I love my job. They love me back, so going to work each night (graveyard shift) is more of a blessing than something I need to do. I'm lucky. I've been there for over 4 years and whenever "familiarity breeds contempt" and I feel unappreciated I take a week off so they can see the place go to pot in my absence. I love that. The overriding thought though is that as long as I have P.T.O. saved up, I have a safety net in case life happens.

    May 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  163. Carl McAnallen

    Jack, with gas prices and travel expenses what they are, along with all the other financial concerns we have, who can afford a vacation? Execpt maybe Jack Cafferty, who seems to be on vacation every other day :)

    May 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  164. Grace AZ

    I just took three semi-vaction days. Since my vacation location was one hour from a project site, I visited my crew at the site for the most of one day. Any thank you for that? No. Did hear about how my vacation was ill-timed. When is a good time to take PTO?? Never. When you are on vacation, you must carry your smart phone to answer calls and emails all day. I had to carry my laptap all day too. So why bother to "take vacation?"

    May 22, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  165. Thom from Michigan

    Jack, after working 70-80 per week and having a month long vacation approved. My reward? Your services are no longer needed when I returned. Employers question, berate and make it damned difficult to take an extended vacation anymore and use the threat of losing your position very effectively. TIme to move to France!

    May 22, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  166. WR Jones

    Where is there left to go that my 60 inch, high def, 3D TV hasn't taken me? Did I miss something?

    May 22, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  167. . joan pearce brandon florida

    I feel I give them 50 weeks out of 52, 5 days out of 7, 8 hours out of a 24 hour day with sleep and commuting taking up the majority of what is left over. Then they want more, they want you to work overtime and Saturdays. I am taking every day, hour and minute I can get, my family deserves it

    May 22, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  168. Bob, pleasant hill, ca

    I am having trouble using my vacation time because we are chronically under-staffed at the SF bay area hospital where I work as Registered Nurse. 90% of the days I requested off at the beginning of the year have been denied. Rather than hire adequate staff, my employer is using traveling nurses and per-diem nurses to "try" to keep up with demand. Unfortunately for me and my nurse colleagues, their plan is not working.
    Bob, Pleasant Hill, CA

    May 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  169. Louis Lemieux

    Hey, Jack! Countries like Italy and France are more socialistic than the US which means people there understand better that money exists for people and not people existing for money.

    May 22, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  170. Frank

    I think we don't take all our vacation for the same reason we don't spend all our savings. I keep a "buffer" of vacation days so I'm prepared when tragedy strikes.

    May 22, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  171. bruce c

    I have 20 years at my current employer. That gives me 30 days of vacation. But I am the only manager for my department. I have 200 emails when I am off two or three days. It takes me three days just to catch up. If I wanted to, I can take a couple weeks off, but I would dread all the work I would have to come back to. Not very relaxing if you worry about all th e work you have to return to.

    May 22, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  172. mms55,oklahoma

    because if they do those good guy job creaters the repulicans are always talking about will replace them in those right too work states.

    May 22, 2012 at 5:43 pm |