Adecco Survey Reveals Majority of American Workers Still Haven't Taken Advantage of Available Vacation Time

Yet Nearly Half of All Workers Still Want More Time Off

Dec 20, 2012, 09:00 ET from Adecco Staffing US

MELVILLE, N.Y., Dec. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With the end of the year nearing, American workers are still holding onto unused vacation days. According to a recent survey by Adecco Staffing US, three in four American workers (75 percent) have not yet taken all of the vacation days allotted to them by their employer, as of the end of November.

The survey also shows employees are getting a fair amount of vacation days per year, as more than one-third (36 percent) noted they are allotted three weeks or more of vacation time annually. Yet ironically, even though workers may not be using all of their current vacation time, 44 percent would be happy to have one or two additional weeks off and nearly a quarter (22 percent) would want three weeks or more of additional vacation time.

"It's interesting that many workers are not taking advantage of their available vacation days for the year yet are hungry for more time off," said Joyce Russell of Adecco Staffing. "Managers should encourage an environment that supports a work/life balance through time outside the office. By developing a plan to ensure that all business needs are being met in the workplace while co-workers are out, there's no reason that staff shouldn't be taking their days."

Although many of the respondents seem to have plenty of vacation days to spare, they are saving them by using days designated for other situations. For example, nearly half (47 percent) of American workers admit to using their sick days as "vacation" days. It seems as though their colleagues may be wise to their actions though, as 72 percent of workers surveyed think their colleagues have taken a sick day when they're not actually ill.

In a morally questionable move, 26 percent of respondents say they have taken bereavement days as vacation days, while 27 percent have used jury duty days as vacation time. A gender difference emerged in survey results with men being more likely than women to take bereavement days (34 percent vs. 18 percent) and jury duty days (40 percent vs. 11 percent) as vacation days.

Additional findings include:

Workers are resentful of their colleagues' time off. Nearly one-third (29 percent) of workers get upset when their co-workers take multiple long weekends off. Slightly fewer (23 percent) feel as though their colleagues judge them when they take any time off.

Younger workers feel scrutinized for their time off. The survey found that 45 percent of those aged 18-24 only get one week or less of vacation time per year. Understandably, the same amount (45 percent) of that age group are jealous of their co-workers' time off. Yet, despite their modest amount of time off, 36 percent of respondents in this group feel as though their colleagues judge them when they actually do use their vacation days. 

Dispute as to what is acceptable. Respondents generally believe it's OK for their colleagues to take two weeks off for a vacation (46 percent) or a honeymoon (54 percent). However, they are less forgiving about the time co-workers take off for doing charitable work or taking care of a sick family member. Respondents say they believe two days off is acceptable for volunteering (35 percent) or taking care of a sick family member (29 percent). In addition, men are also more likely than women to think taking two weeks off is acceptable to volunteer (25 percent vs. 7 percent women) or to stay home with a sick child (29 percent vs. 15 percent).

"There seem to be so many stipulations about taking vacation days, some self-inflicted and some by colleagues," said Russell. "The important thing to remember is why we have vacation days in the first place—to give us time to relax, recharge, and enjoy our lives so that we can be even more productive and successful in our work. It ultimately gives us the work-life balance we all want and need."

Adecco conducted a telephone survey of 522 full-time workers that was fielded by Braun Research from November 21-25, 2012. Survey results have a margin of error +/- 4.3% for this sample size.

About Adecco Staffing US
Adecco Staffing US is the nation's leading provider of recruitment and workforce solutions. It is the pre-eminent workforce management partner for Fortune 500 companies and career advisement expert for American workers, serving all of the key industries and professions that drive the US economy forward. Adecco has more than 900 career centers and, on any given day, connects 70,000 talented workers to the best job opportunities across the country, making them one of America's largest employers. Visit for more information.

About Adecco Group North America:
Every day we provide our clients with the talent they need, and help solve the business challenges they face today – and will encounter tomorrow. Our clients rely on us for a wide range of workforce solutions including:

  • Contingent staffing and direct hire recruitment for large enterprise organizations across all skill sets
  • Workforce solutions and consulting including Managed Services Programs (MSP) & Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)
  • Career transition and leadership consulting
  • Specialty staffing, project solutions and consulting services

Additional information is available through our websites at and

About Braun Research, Inc. (BRI)
BRI is a well-respected and internationally recognized firm that employs techniques and standards approved by leading survey research academic organizations in the world. BRI is an active member in a number of respected organizations throughout the industry, including The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), Council on Marketing and Opinion Research (CMOR) and Council on American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO).

SOURCE Adecco Staffing US