U.S. workers still take vacations but they take fewer and of less duration since the Great Recession. A survey by the jobs site Careerbuilder.com also shows employees take fewer vacations than their bosses.
Eighty-one percent of managers have taken or plan to take vacation this year, compared to 65 percent of full-time employees.
Before the recession, which began in late 2007 and officially ended in 2009, about 80 percent of employees took a vacation each year. But the survey, conducted earlier this year, now finds that vacations are just financially out of reach for many Americans.
Can't afford it
One in five workers said they can't afford to go on vacation, which is down from 24 percent in 2011. Another 12 percent of workers say they can afford vacations, but have no plans to take one, consistent with past years. People in supervisory positions are more likely, however, to take a vacation.
"Managers may be more likely to afford vacations, but they should still be encouraging their employees to use paid time off, even if they are staying close to home," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "Workers who maximize vacation time are less likely to burn out and more likely to maintain productivity levels. Heavy workloads and financial constraints can make it difficult to get away from work, but even if you're not traveling far from home, a few days away can have have a very postive impact on your health and happiness."
Even when workers do take vacations, they tend to be shorter than they once were. For example, in the post-recession era 17 percent of workers plan vacations of 10 days or more. That's down from 24 percent from 2007.
Hard to escape
Many find it's hard to escape the office even when they are on vacation. Three out of 10 workers said they usually stay in contact with their workplace during their time off. More than a third of managers (37 percent) say they expect their employees to check with work while on vacation, although most say only if the employee is involved in a big project or major issue going on with the company.
In the last couple of years, rising gasoline prices have added to the financial pressures of taking a vacation, popularizing the concept of “stay-cations.” Thirty-eight percent of workers say they vacationed at home last year or plan to do so this year.
Finally, 23 percent said they continued to stay on while the family went on vacation.