Why 2 in 5 employees leave vacation time on the table

ManagementWe love time off! So why don’t we take all our vacation time?

Because American workers are too scared to go on vacation.

About 40 percent of us don’t plan on using all of our paid time off this year, according to a new survey released by the U.S. Travel Association and GfK, a market research firm.

The survey polled 1,303 workers, including 235 senior business leaders.

The two most common reasons survey respondents cited for not taking a break:

  • They dread the pile of work awaiting them when they return.
  • No one else can do what they do at the office.

These people suffer from what the researchers called a “martyr” complex, believing that they’re the only ones who can do their jobs.

I Dare You

Most telling: More than 20 percent of workers said one of the main reasons they aren’t taking all of their vacation days is because they don’t want to appear replaceable.

“Fundamentally what’s going on there is fear,” said Michael Leiter, a psychology professor at Acadia University who studies people’s relationship with their work, but wasn’t involved with the new research.

“People are afraid if they’re not present and they’re not continually churning stuff out that bad things are going to happen.”

Yeah, something bad is going to happen. They are going to get ulcers.

 * * *

Training for your management team

Upgrade your management team with ManageElite’s online, interactive training. Check out the demos of all 14 modules.


  1. Ray Downs says:

    I would have to agree in why employees do not take their vacation. They are afraid of being missed and someone will take their jobs. I suggest we follow the European method of holiday by shuttering down in August as best as companies can. The work will get done but free up those to recharge. One week one long weekend is not doing it in America. Besides you would be able to hire temps thus rnergizing the economy.

    All the best.

  2. Not true. I work in an office of four people. We all do something different and I am the only one in my department. No one can cover for me. It is all piled up on my desk when I come back. Even taking one day off is a nightmare.

  3. I don’t take my vacation because I have to work even when I’m off or out of town. I’m IT for 5 corporations and they have no problem calling me several times a day. I am the entire IT Department so there is no one else to “fill in” for me. I also work for a guy the jokingly said “if I can do without you for two weeks… I can do without you”. I’m not sure it was a joke.

  4. In my own case, it has been the literal truth: nobody else capable of doing my work, hence I come back to a BIG pile of work waiting for me – and being on call 24/7 all 52 weeks of the year, yes, even during “vacation”. Bad idea? Yup, been telling my employer that for a couple of decades. They didn’t believe me until I had surgery last year and took all 3 weeks of my vacation at once.

    Now I’m a working only 3 days a week, with a 40% pay cut so they can afford to hire a trainee to “help” me…

    So about that vacation time I have coming to me…

Speak Your Mind