It is a campaign that will never be short of support … a project to try and help ensure employees take their fair share of holidays.

Project: Time Off is hoping to end so-called ‘vacation starvation’, where workers leave their annual leave unused, missing out on family occasions and possible travel abroad.

Project: Time Off to end 'vacation starvation'?
Project: Time Off to end 'vacation starvation'?

Missed holidays have become an epidemic in the United States where 169 million days of holidays are now being forfeited every single year.

That works out at a loss of US$504 for every employee and an incredible US$52.4 billion in lost benefit across the United States.

Project: Time Off told Lonely Planet that Americans were now taking less vacation time than ever before with an average of just sixteen days per worker.

‘That’s nearly a full work week less than pre-2000 levels when we used just over twenty days on average. We call it America’s lost week,’ they said.

A new wristband can help holiday-makers to monitor their exposure to the sun
Project Time Off hopes to encourage people to take a break. 

The average worker missed out on at least three important family events each year including children’s activities, actual holidays, family visits and even sometimes funerals.

They said: ‘We are creating the next generation of work martyrs by setting an example for our kids that overwork is OK.’

As severe as the problem is in the United States, it is actually worse in other countries – particularly in Asia – according to the last yearly research published by Expedia.

Their ‘vacation deprivation report’ found that in Thailand, employees were offered on average just eleven days of annual leave, but did manage to take ten of them.

South Koreans on the other hand had fifteen days holidays each year but on average they only took seven of the days to which they were entitled.

Europeans were far better off both in days offered and days taken with 28 days the median level of annual leave across the continent.

With thirty days on offer in Denmark, France, Germany and Spain – workers in those countries still found time to take every single day available. UK residents took 25 of 26 days, and Irish citizens took 21 of the average of 22 days available to them.

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