Memorial Day long weekend: US still a no-vacation nation


As May rolls into June and, hopefully, the weather improves, the school year comes to an end and people need a battery recharge.  Thoughts turn to vacations and general down-time. For some those thoughts have already become plans and itineraries that have been worked on all winter. Others prefer to do things off the cuff, an ad lib trip here and there. Still more like to stick around for a “stay-cation” and play tourist in their own city.

Regardless of your preference, all of these options require time off from work or school. There was a time when school vacations seemed to last forever – ah, youth, even if they were only ten weeks. But now they not only feel shorter, they are. I don’t believe I ever attended school before Labor Day, yet today’s students and teachers are often back in class in late August. Talk of going to a year-round curriculum is heard more and more.

… when you combine annual paid vacation and statutory holidays, Austria and Portugal lead with 35

VacationGraphWhen it comes to the labor force North Americans certainly don’t get the concept of vacation when compared to European countries. The United States has often been referred to as the “no-vacation nation” and Canada is not far behind. According to a US study conducted by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, when you combine annual paid vacation and statutory holidays, Austria and Portugal lead with 35 each and Germany and Spain are close behind with 34.  Meanwhile in Canada ten days  (two weeks) is the norm while the US doesn’t guarantee any paid vacation.

… the US doesn’t guarantee any paid vacation

As the study was conducted in the US which may explain why no attention is paid to the detrimental health effects on workers caused by a lack of vacation time. In the U.S. the growing demand for more work hours and the corresponding loss of leisure time in the last two decades is a big crisis, says John Weaver, PsyD, a psychologist and owner of Psychology for Business, a workplace consulting firm based in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

Many hardworking and vacation-deprived Americans experience burnout, reduced productivity, diminished creativity, failed relationships,stress, or stress-related ailments such as depression, heart disease, or stomach ulcers.

So enjoy the Memorial Day long weekend as it may be your last day off for some time.

Published by DCMontreal

DCMontreal - Deegan Charles Stubbs - is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

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