Fighting for the right to relax

Marketplace Staff Jul 23, 2007

TEXT OF STORY

Lisa Napoli: One thing that might make people less in need of the hospital is more vacation time. But one in four American workers don’t get any time off paid — and of course, people here work more any in other industrialized nations.

Wren Elhai reports some are saying there oughta be a law.


Wren Elhai: Vacations are in trouble. Polls say people are taking shorter trips and even when they are away, most are still checking in at work through e-mail or voicemail.

Joe Robinson: What’s happened in recent years is that work ethic has morphed into an overwork ethic.

Joe Robinson is on the board of Take Back Your Time, a group campaigning for a federal law that would require businesses to give employees 15 days of paid vacation.

Robinson: Without that protection these days in the volatile economy, people are afraid to go on a trip for fear that they might be replaced by the time they get home, or somebody might pass them while they’re gone.

A hundred and twenty-seven countries have vacation laws and workers in Europe get up to six weeks off. But businesses warn a U.S. vacation law would carry a huge cost for companies. And many say competition already does the trick — generous benefits attract better employees.

In Washington, I’m Wren Elhai for Marketplace.

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