"For a lot of Americans who are in jobs without a lot of flexibility or discretion, vacation time serves a lot of purposes other than making summer trips to Disney World or Italy," [John Schmitt] says. "They use their vacation time to stay home for the cable guy, or to attend a graduation or to take care of their kid who's come down with the chicken pox."
"Americans are the workaholics of the world," says John de Graaf, Take Back Your Time's national coordinator. "Having three weeks off wouldn't make people lazy. It would prevent burnout, make them better workers when they're working and give them a chance to pay attention to other aspects of their life."
Though Americans' vacation time is relatively skimpy, they don't always use it all up. Somewhere between one-third and one-half of employed adults don't take as much vacation as they have coming to them -- 35%, according to the 2007 Expedia.com Vacation Deprivation survey (analyzing vacation habits in the U.S. and four other countries); 56% according to a survey conducted this spring for Hudson, a division of the Hudson Highland Group, which specializes in professional recruitment.