Survey: US Workers Lie to Avoid Work Responsibilities during Vacation

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. white lie / waɪt laɪ / (idiom) – something that is false but means no harm

    I told my coworkers a white lie. If I had told them the truth, they might not be able to concentrate on their work.

  2. vary / ˈvɛər i / (v) – to differ from one another

    Karen is a coin collector. She collects coins that vary in design and value.

  3. tendency / ˈtɛn dən si / (n) – the likelihood of thinking or behaving in a certain manner

    People who stay up late have the tendency to be involved in unhealthy practices such as smoking and overeating.

  4. catch up on (something) / kætʃ ʌp ɒn / (idiom) – to do something that should have been carried out or done earlier

    The employee was absent for a week. She needs to catch up on all the paperwork that piled up while she was away.

  5. fall behind / fɔl bɪˈhaɪnd / (phrasal) – to fail in progressing

    Because of lack of funding, our university falls behind other campuses in terms of scientific research.


Read the text below.

A survey found that nearly half of US workers lie about phone and Internet connectivity on their days off to avoid work responsibilities.

Allianz Global Assistance, an international travel insurance and services company, surveyed more than a thousand US workers. The survey found that 49% find it acceptable to tell a white lie about Wi-Fi and phone signals to avoid work calls and e-mails while on vacation.

According to Daniel Durazo, an Allianz director, employees feel pressured to stay connected to the office even while spending some time off. As a result, they feel the need to lie about their phone and Internet connection.

The survey, called the 2019 Vacation Confidence Index, found that the probability of lying varies among age groups and salary ranges. Fifty-nine percent of millennials, aged 18 to 34, are most likely to give an excuse about poor connectivity; 49% of Gen Xers, aged 35 to 54, would use the same excuse; and 32% of Baby Boomers, aged 55 to 75, also find it an acceptable excuse. Workers earning more than $50,000 annually also have a higher tendency to use the excuse compared to those earning less.

Despite the tendency to lie, most employees still actually check their work e-mail while on vacation, according to the survey. A common reason is that it makes catching up on work easier. Most employees are also afraid of falling behind tasks, so they prefer to take shorter vacations than longer ones. Additionally, the majority of millennial workers prefer to work even on vacation if it meant they would have more days off in a year.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• In your opinion, is it acceptable to stay out of contact from work during vacation? Why or why not?
• If you had to choose, would you take shorter vacations totally cut off from work or longer vacations while maintaining communication with the office? Explain.

Discussion B

• How would you describe a healthy work-life balance? Discuss.
• In your opinion, what should companies and workplaces do to create a better work-life balance for their employees? Discuss.