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Good Question: How Much Vacation Do We Get?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Feel like you need a little break? A lot of other Americans are apparently right there with you.

A new study finds half of us would be willing to pay for more vacation time.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says 77 percent of American workers get some kind of paid vacation.

It is 91 percent for full-time employees and 35 percent for part-time workers.

There is no U.S. law that mandates paid time off.

"The U.S. is behind other advanced economies in terms of days offered," Amy Falink, a senior lecturer on work and organization at the Carlson School of Management, said. "In other advanced economies, the paid time off is, in part, mandated by the government."

Companies on average give between 10 - 16 days a year, depending on how long an employee has worked at a company.

"Many people who have conducted studies believe that people are more productive if they take vacation because they're less likely to burn out when they return to work," Jill Hasday, a family law professor at the University of Minnesota, said.

A Society of Resource Management survey said 61 percent of organizations report that employees leave at least three unused vacation days each year, on average.

Some companies – 62 percent -- let their employees roll over their days to the next year.

"People say, 'You know, in theory I have paid vacation, but the structure of my workplace is such that I don't actually have the ability to take that time off,'" Hasday said. "Another reason a lot of people say is they want to indicate their commitment to the workplace."

Hasday points out that other studies show workers will also save their vacation days to use in case they run across unexpected events.

"There's a large amount of literature suggesting that one of the things people can do to encourage vacation is to have the managers, upper-level managers, prominently take all of your vacation days and make a point of it," Hasday said.

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