In No Vacation Nation, She Wants 6 Weeks Summer Vacation, These Americans Settle for 3

A couple I run into on occasion has a taste for travel both in the US and abroad.

What makes them stand out from the crowd is that they take around 3 months vacations a year.
She wants 6 weeks summer vacation, they settled for 3.
Today they are on their way to Scandinavia, Finland and the Baltic Republics.
They organized their work around their play time.
She believes that she keeps him sane, healthy and more productive.
They return from their various trips, batteries recharged and full of new ideas and perspectives.

Refreshing by American standards

As to the reasons why more of us in the USA don't take at least a couple weeks off in the summer, Ezra Klein in Why We Don't Vacation Like the French (American Prospect, July 07) offered an answer:

"Rebecca Ray and John Schmitt of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in No Vacation Nation wrote that the United States,"is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation." Take notice of that word "only." Every other advanced economy offers a government guarantee of paid vacation to its workforce. Britain assures its workforce of 20 days of guaranteed, compensated leave. Germany gives 24. And France gives, yes, 30.

We guarantee zero. Absolutely none. That's why one out of 10 full-time American employees, and more than six out of 10 part-time employees, get no vacation. And even among workers with paid vacation benefits, the average number of days enjoyed is a mere 12. In other words, even those of us who are lucky enough to get some vacation typically receive just over a third of what the French are guaranteed."

In sectors such as the hospitality industry, in some states employers who offer 'vacation time' to their staff have the option to pay them less than minimum wage for this 'earned benefit'.

Musician Jonathan Coulton in Summer Vacation (June 17) reminds us that the idea of Summer is to Slow Down:

"Part of my goal for this Summer is to take as much pressure off as I can and pry apart some space for doing just that. I’m not promising to write you a bunch of songs exactly, in fact I kind of have to keep my goals a little fuzzier than that in order to not frighten the muse away. I don’t know exactly where I’m going or what I’m working towards, and I forgive myself in advance for that because that’s sort of the point."

Should paid vacations be part of health benefits instead?

Like the outdoors, there is an inexpensive option in 2009, the US National Park Service offers 2 Fee-Free Weekends at more than 100 national parks that usually charge entrance fees on the following dates:

  • July 18-19, 2009
  • August 15-16, 2009

Amongst those included is the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument (pictured below, from National Parks site).


Working for the Yankee Dollar on Monday Work Etiquette # 96

Previously: Can Boredom Steal the Show at Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston?

Previous Post

First Staircase Challenge-Defi des Escaliers, Unusual Race, June 28, Quebec City

Jun 28
Too bad I found out about the first edition of the Defi des Escaliers in Quebec City on the morning of June 28 after the race was over. It is still worth mentioning for its unusual setting, staircases (escaliers in French) hence the name, Staircase Challenge-Defi des Escaliers. Here is how it was run according to the program: "In this 15 kilometers course, participants will take all the staircases that connect the Upper and the...
Next Post

Back to the Loire, with Couly-Dutheil Chinon Rose 2008, All Cabernet Franc

Jun 29
Been invited to a barbecue on Sunday, it was suggested that I pick some beer on the way and decided to add French Orangeade and a bottle of Rosé Wine to the drink basket. The store I visited offered only a few Rosé Wines including some Tavel and a Chinon. Since my last Rosé pick was from Provence and the Chinon was a Cynthia Hurley selection and I trust her good judgment I went with...