- Those who are too important to take the paid vacation they get.
- Those who don’t get paid vacation and can’t afford to take time off without pay.
- And us weirdos who get paid vacation and take it!
Based on these classes, it is not surprising to see skews in the survey results: younger, non-Whites, with lower income but kids are more supportive of legislating vacation. Probably because they work in jobs that don’t offer any vacation time! Those better paid White folks get paid vacation already; they just don’t take it… Of course, I am really generalizing here!
And, of course, the lack of vacation comes on top of longer hours and long commutes. Not to mention all those gadgets that keep us tied to the office 24/7. As if the world would end if a phone call isn’t returned within an hour…
Let’s do a little international comparison, shall we? According to the World Bank, the United States ranks 9th on 2007 per capita gross national income ranked by purchasing power parity (to make the GNI numbers comparable). According to the Expedia Vacation Deprivation Survey, US employees get 14 days of vacation, on average (we know from the TBYT survey that many don’t get any). In France, they average 37 days of paid vacation. France ranks 24th on the GNI scale (I adjusted the PPP scale to remove the skips). The French earn 27% less than Americans but Americans get 62% less vacation time. Is that worth it? In the Netherlands, they get twice as much vacation (28 days) but they only make 14% less. Unfortunately, the vacation survey compares only a limited number of countries and I don’t seem to find data on, say, Luxembourg, which ranks first in GNI (40% higher than the US!). Although it’s clear that there is no linear relationship between income and vacation time – we earn more but not enough to compensate for the lower amount of vacation. This also completely ignores quality of life issues. Slowing down has many advantages… Personally, I am working on figuring out ways to do that without shooting myself in the foot by giving up health care. But that’s another story.