French most likely to use all vacation, Japanese least: poll

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Although a vacation can be a good chance to get away from the stresses of work, only two-thirds of employees globally use all the holidays they are given by their organization, according to a joint Reuters/Ipsos.

Holidaymakers and tourists sunbathe on the beach on a hot summer day in Nice, south eastern France, July 9, 2010. REUTERS/Sebastien Nogier

The survey of about 12,500 people in 24 countries found French employees were the most likely to take advantage of the days granted, with 89 percent using up all of their days.

They were followed by Argentinians with 80 percent using all their vacation days, then Hungarians at 78 percent and Britons at 77 percent.

But at the other end of the scale Japanese workers were the least likely to use all their vacations days. Only 33 percent would take off all the time given.

They were followed by 47 percent of workers in South Africa taking their full leave entitlement, 53 percent in South Korea and 57 percent in the United States.

“There are lots of reasons why people don’t use up vacation days but most often it’s because they feel obligated to their work and put it over other more important things, including their own health and welfare,” said John Wright, senior vice president of global market and opinion research firm Ipsos.

“Workers should remember that there are graveyards full of indispensable people,” he added.

Wright said there appeared to be virtually no difference in terms of demographics when it came to taking leave with about two-third of high and low income earners taking all the days available.

Slightly more younger people would take all their leave than people aged over 50.

“But there was a slight (difference) as business owners and senior executive/decision leaders at 60 percent are the least likely to use up all of the holidays granted them,” he said.

Workers most likely to use all leave:

France 89 percent

Argentina 80 percent

Hungary 78 percent

Britain 77 percent

Spain 77 percent

Saudi Arabia 76 percent

Germany 75 percent

Belgium 74 percent

Turkey 74 percent

Indonesia 70 percent

Mexico 67 percent

Russia 67 percent

Italy 66 percent

Poland 66 percent

China 65 percent

Sweden 63 percent

Brazil 59 percent

India 59 percent

Canada 58 percent

United States 57 percent

South Korea 53 percent

Australia 47 percent

South Africa 47 percent

Japan 33 percent

Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Patricia Reaney