The Fight Against No-Vacation Nation

The United States, more than any other country in the world, equates the perception of busyness to success. We work long hours, rarely take breaks, eat sad sandwiches at our desks, and almost never take vacations. To the world at large, the sentiment is simply that Americans work far too much.

The U.S. Travel Association has coined a name for our affliction – Work Martyr Syndrome. In a period where cutbacks are prevalent, U.S. workers position themselves as indispensable by putting in a lot of face time at the office, resulting in the lowest amount of vacation time used in the past 40 years.

In fact, the U.S. is the only advanced nation in the world that doesn’t offer workers a guaranteed paid vacation. With our European counterparts enjoying an average 20 paid vacation days a year, it’s safe to declare the United States a No-Vacation Nation.

Work Martyr Syndrome in Dollars and Cents

In 2013, American workers forfeited $169 million dollars in PTO. To break that figure down even further, each employee wasted $2,520 worth of paid vacation time. Why?

  • 40% fear returning to a large amount of work
  • 35% can’t delegate and feel they are the only ones able to do the work
  • 19% hope not taking time off will give them an edge for promotion
  • 17% fear losing their jobs if they take time off

However, is our underlying fear that taking time off will result in loss of a competitive edge making us better workers? According to the research, the decision to not schedule time for R&R can lead to some concerning health risks.

The Benefits Breakdown

The benefits of taking a vacation are numerous and varied. From lowering the risk of heart disease to increasing reaction times, taking time off is necessary to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

  • Men who take regular vacations are 32% less likely to die of heart attacks, and 21% less likely to die early.
  • Women who take vacations have 50% lower risk of heart attack.
  • Additionally, people who vacation sustain an additional hour of sleep each night after they return.


To learn more about The Fight Against No-Vacation Nation, check out our infographic below!






















































































































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