July 11, 2008
Note to Congress: We want a paid vacation law
How do I love the folks at the Seattle-based non-profit Take Back Your Time? Let me count the ways. Not only do they lobby our politicians for paid sick leave, overtime limits, part-time workers' rights, paid parental leave, and making Election Day a holiday so people have an easier time voting, they're now lobbying Congress for at least three weeks paid vacation for all U.S. employees.
According to Take Back Your Time, "Only 14 percent of Americans will get a vacation of two weeks or longer this year." And, "A third of women and a quarter of men get no annual leave anymore, as annual leave benefits are being eliminated like pensions." (Ouch.)
A few other stats to get your blood boiling, courtesy of TBYT:
- The U.S. is the only industrialized country that does not mandate paid vacation leave.
- Americans spend 300 more hours at work each year than Western Europeans.
- In 1980, Americans ranked eleventh in the world for longevity. Today we're forty-second.
- We're twice as likely as Europeans to suffer from anxiety and depression, which experts link to a lack of time.
In other words, we need vacations, and we need 'em bad.
Want to sign when Take Back Your Time's petition for paid vacations? Visit right2vacation.org. Want to talk about how such a policy change might affect your company? Comment away.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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