Young US Workers Feel Guilty about Taking Vacations

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

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

  1. use up / yuz ʌp / (phrasal) – to spend or take everything without any leftovers

    We needed to buy more ink for the printer because our remaining stock was used up.

  2. amount to / əˈmaʊnt tʊ / (phrasal) – to make a total of something when added together

    Overall, his expenses for the trip amounted to only $100.

  3. uneasy / ʌnˈi zi / (adj) – worried or uncomfortable

    He is not a people person. He always feels uneasy around new people.

  4. make the most of (something) / meɪk ðə moʊst əv / (idiom) – to enjoy or use something to maximize its advantage

    I will join an art workshop and take yoga classes to make the most of my one-month vacation.

  5. obligated / ˈɒb lɪˌgeɪtɪd / (adj) – having a sense of duty or responsibility

    Senior employees feel obligated to help the company’s newly hired staff members.


Read the text below.

Younger workers in the United States tend to feel guilty about taking vacations, according to a new report.

Online travel agency Priceline commissioned Savanta, a market research firm, to survey 1,000 full-time employees about their vacation habits. Participants included workers from the Baby Boomer generation, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z. The oldest generation—the Baby Boomer—was born between 1946 and 1964, while the youngest—Generation Z—was born between 1997 and 2010.

Results showed that US workers do not use up their paid vacation days, which amount to more than 10 per year. One of the reasons behind this is the guilt that they feel when taking days off work.

The study further revealed that the younger generations were more likely to report feeling uneasy about making the most of their paid vacation days. Generation Z workers experienced this the most, followed by the Millennials. The younger generations also said that they feel obligated to check on work through their e-mails or phones while on vacation. Those from Generation X and the Baby Boomers did not report as much guilt.

In addition, the study revealed that among all workers, guilt is present within a few months of starting a new job. More than 60% of the participants reported that it takes them at least six months to feel comfortable with using their paid vacations. Some even wait a full year before taking any vacation.

Priceline’s Chief People Officer Liz Dente said that this should not be the case. She believes that companies should be the ones being pressured to let workers completely disconnect from work during their vacations.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Why do you think Generation Z workers feel the guiltiest about taking their paid vacation days? Discuss.
• Have you ever felt guilty about taking time off work? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• What should companies do to make employees feel less guilty about taking their paid vacation days? Discuss.
• What do you think is the right number of paid vacation days that employees should receive (e.g. 10 days, 15 days, 20 days)? Explain.