PhotoThe majority of working Millennials feel shamed for taking time off work, according to new research from Alamo Rent A Car.

“Vacation shame” was a familiar feeling for around half (49%) of U.S. workers, but young workers were most likely to report feeling shamed for planning and taking vacations from their jobs.

Last year, 59% of Millennials who responded to Alamo’s Family Vacation Survey said they felt vacation shamed. This year, the number rose to 68%. 

Millennials are more likely than non-Millennials to say that vacation shaming would keep them from planning or going on a vacation (40% compared to 17%). But across the board, feelings of guilt surrounding time off translate to unused paid vacation days.

Unused vacation days

Findings from the study showed that less than half of all workers (47%) are using all of their paid vacation days, compared with 60% in the 2015 study and 57% in the 2016 study.

Millennials were the least likely age group to say they used all of their vacation days, with 60% opting to leave unused vacation days on the table.

What’s more, nearly half (48%) of employees said they have felt the need to justify to their employer why they are using their vacation days. Of those who do muster up the emotional fortitude to use their paid time off, just one in five will actually go on a vacation. The majority choose to spend time staying home and running errands.

Forgoing rest and relaxation

"Our research shows roughly one in four U.S. workers say the biggest benefit of vacation is feeling less stressed at work -- yet, the majority still choose to limit their vacation days and forgo some much-needed rest and relaxation," said Rob Connors, vice president of brand marketing for Alamo Rent A Car.

"This year's survey suggests that American workers are putting a lot of pressure on themselves in workplaces when it comes to planning and taking vacations, especially in vacation-shaming environments,” he added.

Additional findings from the study showed that, overall, 54% of workers feel their colleagues are serious when they engage in vacation-shaming activities.

Interestingly, the generation most likely to feel vacation shamed is also the generation most likely to inflict guilt upon others. Millennials were more likely than non-Millennials to say they vacation shame their colleagues all of the time or sometimes (33% vs. 14%).


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