Has America Forgotten How to Take a Vacation?

The United States has no vacation policy — and neither do families, judging from surveys of workers’ time off. Are we doing it wrong?

If something must exist for it to be broken, then U.S. national vacation policy cannot be broken, because there isn’t one. Here’s a graph of federal paid annual leave policies across advanced economies in the OECD. Look to the far right. See us? We’re the one at zero.


So, America is exceptional. But not wiser, perhaps. The science of productivity is pretty clear that anything from a coffee break to a two-week vacation can make us better workers by replenishing our energy and attention and allowing our brains to make new connections that are obscured in the daily grind. Even at companies that offer vacation time (the vast majority of them), Americans often don’t take advantage. We like working, or at least we’re so afraid of not working that we deny ourselves breaks that might, paradoxically, make us more productive in the long term. Are we crazy?

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Source: Derek Thompson | The Atlantic
Image: The Atlantic