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Company Forces Workers To Take 'Paid-Paid Vacation'

BOSTON (CBS) -- Getting a break from work is a must, but sometimes scheduling a vacation can be a challenge.

It's estimated about 40 percent of American workers don't use all the time they earn each year.

Workers in downtown Boston told WBZ-TV it can be hard to schedule time away and that being absent makes them nervous.

One man said there can be feelings of guilt when co-workers are left behind to handle all the work.

A growing number of companies are now mandating their workers take a minimum amount of time off.

Studies show burnout is a common problem with workers. One survey found about half of workers admit to being burnt out.

Another poll showed all the technology that keeps workers connected around the clock is making the situation worse.

Elaine Varelas, a human resources executive at Keystone Partners, said burnout is a huge problem for most organizations.

"You want your people refreshed," she said. "That's when you are going to be getting the best performance from them."

Full Contact, a high-tech company in Denver, is trying a new approach that's growing in popularity, according to CEO Bart Lorang.

"Our policy is something we call paid-paid vacation, and what that means is that we pay people in addition to their normal salary to go on vacation," he said. "We pay them $7,500 to take a vacation and go off the grid."

Lorang says employees have to take a minimum of three weeks of vacation each year.

"I get more productive, happier employees," he said. "I would rather have them super productive and super charged up when they're working rather than constantly at a 70-to-60 percent state."

Jessica Nolan used her stipend to visit South America with her husband. She says she didn't check her work email while she was gone.

She believes it helps the company's culture that everyone has to take time off.

"The great thing is that people were able to help me while I was out, so I can return the favor since everyone has that policy and benefit and there is no favoritism," Nolan said.

In recent years, many companies experiment with unlimited vacation. Varelas believes that approach failed.

"Senior people who don't take vacation really send a message to their junior people not to take vacation, and that shouldn't be the message they are pushing throughout the organization," she says.

Varelas expects paid-paid vacation to become popular. It will if Nolan's friends are any indication.

"They are so jealous. They are like, 'Is that real?'" she said.

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