American Workers’ Time Off Survey

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SURVEY BACKGROUND

Methodology & Background

Adecco Group North America’s Q4 Survey captures a snapshot of how Americans use their time off from work, as well as their attitudes toward how colleagues use their time off.

Telephone survey of 522 full-time* workers

  • Fielded by Braun Research
  • Conducted November 21-25, 2012

Differences between various demographics groups were also explored:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Geographic Region
  • Marital Status
  • Parental Status

Survey results have a margin of error +/-4.3% for this sample size.

Key Findings

Many workers admit to taking sick days, bereavement, or jury duty as additional vacation time

  • More than one-third (36 percent) of workers are allotted more than three weeks of vacation per year. Despite this, workers still want more – 44 percent would be happy with one or two additional weeks of vacation and one in five (22 percent) would want three or more.
    • Workers in the South (43 percent) are happiest with their current vacation package – nearly double those in the Northeast (23 percent) and nearly triple those in the West (15 percent).
    • Workers with children (40 percent) are also more likely than those without children (22 percent) to be happy with their current vacation package.
  • Three in four (75 percent) workers have not used all of their allotted vacation time for the year, while only one in four (25 percent) have used it.
    • Of those who have not used all of their vacation time yet this year, almost two in five (39 percent) plan to use their time by the end of the year, while more than one in four (26 percent) will let it roll over into 2013.

Many workers admit to taking sick days, bereavement, or jury duty as additional vacation time

  • Almost half (47 percent) of workers admit to using sick days as vacation days.
  • However, many more workers (72 percent) judge their colleagues – thinking they take advantage of their sick days (i.e., use them when they’re not actually sick).
  • Surprisingly, more than a quarter (26 percent) have taken bereavement days and jury duty (27 percent) as vacation time.
  • Men are nearly twice as likely to use bereavement time (34 percent vs. 18 percent women) and nearly four times more likely to use jury duty (40 percent v. 11 percent women) as vacation days.

Key Findings

Some workers are upset by the negative impact the absence of co-workers has on them

  • Nearly one in five (17 percent) workers have been denied vacation time in the past.
    • Of those who were denied vacation time, about a third (31 percent) were denied because their co-workers had requested time off before they did.
  • Nearly one-third (29 percent) of workers get upset with their co-workers if they take multiple long weekends off, while slightly fewer (23 percent) feel like their colleagues judge them when they take any time off.
  • A quarter (25 percent) of workers get upset with their co-workers if they leave the office early.
  • Women (25 percent) are significantly more likely than men (11 percent) to be jealous of co-workers’ time off.
  • Workers think it’s fine for their colleagues to take off two weeks in a row for vacation (46 percent) or a honeymoon (54 percent). However, they are distinctly tougher when it comes to others taking vacation time for doing good or to care for a sick family member. Workers think only two days is acceptable for volunteering (35 percent) and staying home with a sick child (29 percent).
    • Interestingly, almost one in four (24 percent) men think it’s fine to take three or more weeks of sick time, compared to 9 percent of women.
    • Men are also more likely to think taking two or more weeks off is fine to volunteer (27 percent v. 7  percent women) or to stay home with a sick child (29 percent v. 15 percent women).
  • When their colleagues are out of the office, the majority (63 percent) of workers have an increased workload and nearly half (44 percent) have increased responsibility.

Key Findings

Younger workers receive less vacation time but feel judged when they want to use it

  • Almost half (45 percent) of workers ages 18-24 are allotted one week or less of vacation time per year, but many (36 percent) feel like their colleagues judge them when they use it.
  • While they do not receive as much vacation time as their older counterparts, almost half of younger workers (45 percent) are jealous of their co-workers’ time off.
    • Almost as many (43 percent) are also upset when their co-workers leave the office early.
  • When their co-workers are out of the office, younger workers are burdened by an increased workload (74 percent), increased stress (46 percent), and longer work hours (45 percent).

MAIN FINDINGS

Workers long for more vacation days and
sometimes use non-vacation days as time off

MAIN FINDINGS

Some workers are upset by the negative impact
the absence of co-workers has on them

MAIN FINDINGS

Younger workers receive less vacation time
but feel judged when they want to use it

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