Destinations

Hotels.com Takes Up the Fight for Guaranteed Vacation Days in the U.S.

@SamShankman

Jul 25, 2014 11:55 am

Skift Take

There are commercial motives behind Hotels.com employee-friendly campaign, but that doesn’t mean its goals aren’t worthwhile. Even if progress can’t be made on the federal level, individual employers should take a look at their policies to make sure they’re getting the best of their workforce.

— Samantha Shankman

Free Report: The Changing Business of Extended-Stay Hotels

Wayne Parry  / Associated Press

A mother and daughter at a Belmar, N.J. beach. Wayne Parry / Associated Press


America is the only advanced economy in the world that doesn’t guarantee paid vacation days on the federal level, which means 28 million works receive zero paid holiday, according to a new Hotels.com study.

European countries, well-known for luxurious vacation policies, are guaranteed no less than 20 paid vacation days while several of the U.S.’s South American neighbors have at least 15 guaranteed days of sunshine or relaxation.

The study, part of Hotels.com’s new lobbying campaign, aims to raise awareness of the impact of America’s lack of vacation law.

It, of course, wouldn’t hurt a travel booking site if 28 million Americans suddenly got guaranteed vacation days. But it’s one that we’re behind if only for the health and wellness benefits.

The booking site has released an online video (below) raising awareness of the issue, launched a campaign website, and started soliciting petition signatures to send to the White House.

The petition currently has only 3,361 signatures of its 100,000 goal. For each person that signs the online petition, a physical postcard is sent to lawmakers in Washington, DC.

There are several potential opponents in the fight for mandated vacation time including employers and constituents opposed to increased government involvement.

For now, Hotels.com VP and general manager Neha Parikh is more focused on starting the conversation than converting the opposition. She says the trajectory of the campaign will depend on how much interest and momentum the campaign receives int he first few weeks.

“It’s not something that’s going to change this month or even this year, “ explains Parikh. “But we can’t stand by and do nothing. These values are really important to us.”

Americans’ Bad Vacation Habits

It’s worth pointing out that Americans with guaranteed vacation days tend to treat them as a luxury rather than a right.

In 2013, Americans could have taken 14 days of vacation but only took 10, leaving 4 days on the table (twice as many as the year prior), according to Expedia’s vacation deprivation study.

Among Americans that do take vacation, there is a substantial difference dependent on net worth. Affluent Americans take an average of three six-day vacations a year, according to a 2013 Resonance report. This looks like a global expedition in comparison to the 3.8 vacation days taken by the average U.S. worker in 2010.

Perhaps the most telling of all is that even when Americans do get to the beach or the mountains, at least half check in on work emails and voicemails.

See the Hotels.com campaign video below and let us know what you think about the right to guaranteed vacation time.

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