Sunday, March 7, 2010

What's a Vacation?

Think you can’t take time off for more than a weekend? Envy your French friends as they plan for three weeks in the country in the summer, the Italians who turn off the business e-mail during August?

Vacations, how much and when can be a sensitive topic. Unions negotiate for more time off on behalf of workers, employment contracts contain clauses relating to vacations to be taken and employers remind their staff that time off is a benefit not a right. But seldom does a government urge people to take more time off.

In Korea today the government urges people to take their vacation time. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal ( the Korean government has decided that workers are not taking enough vacation. The article “Vacation Takes Work in Korea” cites 2007 statistics for hours work showing that Koreans worked 2,316 hours a year – significantly more than US workers who averaged 1,794 hours or employees in the OECD countries who worked the fewest hours at 1,768.

After years of encouraging people to work to build their economy, the government now tells people to use their time off. Although Korean government workers are allotted 23 days a years the typical worker only takes six days.

Vacation. An extended period of recreation, travel, being away form home. Time to refresh. What's your plan for 2010?

1 comment:

Marian said...

Another interesting development is the increasing use of electronic devices to stay in touch even when on vacation. It seems that most American managers and executives, and a good portion of those from other countries, particularly Asian ones, still feel compelled to check in with their offices and clients on weekends and throughout their vacations, regardless of how remote they are. When do we really relax and refresh ourselves?