SUNDAY TIMES - 'Vacation shaming' at work is turning holidays into guilt trips
Sunday Times Travel By ELIZABETH SLEITH, 2016-03-20 00:00:00.0

'Vacation shaming' at work is turning holidays into guilt trips

Who knows what colleagues from the TV series 'The Office' think about their fellow workers going on vacation.
Image: NBC

Do you ever feel embarrassed to tell your colleagues you're going on holiday? If you do, you're not alone - and your co-workers might be the ones to blame.

A new survey commissioned by Alamo Rent A Car has found that "vacation shaming", being made to feel guilty for taking leave, is common in today's workplace.

The primary offenders are the younger generation - "millennials", as we call them. Alamo found that 42% of workers under 35 admitted to shaming their co-workers for taking leave at least occasionally, compared to only 24% of workers over 35.

Nearly half of the respondents said they felt guilt or shame about taking leave at least sometimes, with more than one in five saying they did "all the time".

The study also found that 59% of millennials - compared to 41% of those above 35 - reported being "vacation shamed" for taking or planning their days off.

At 47%, almost half the millennials felt they needed to justify to their employer why they wanted leave and how they would spend it. And a terrible 22% of all surveyed said the shaming prevented them from enjoying their holiday.

Perhaps it's not surprising that the study was done in the US, where 41% of Americans didn't take a single day's leave last year. Interestingly, it's the only advanced economy in the world that does not require employers to provide paid holiday time. By comparison, an economically similar country like Germany requires two days off for every month worked, meaning a guaranteed 24 days off per year, not including the numerous public holidays. Canada guarantees its workers 19 days off per year, while France pretty much shuts down in August.

In South Africa, workers are entitled to 21 consecutive days off for every year worked. So, no shame, people! Just take your holidays.