Last updated: August 24. 2013 10:17AM - 45 Views

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You work too hard. You deserve a vacation.Summer used to signal that it was time for your two-week family trip. But those days are just about gone. We Americans are working more than anyone else, which leaves little time for the old-fashioned vacation.In this, we do not compare well with other industrialized countries. According to the World Tourism Organization, Italy grants the most vacation days, with each worker having an average of 42 paid days off. France is second with 37 days, followed by Germany with 35, Brazil with 34, the United Kingdom at 28, Canada with 26 and South Korea and Japan with 25.The United States was nearly dead last with an average worker receiving only 13 days off. And unlike in Europe, where overwhelming numbers of people use up their vacation time, only 57 percent of Americans take the days off that they've earned.And Americans are working the most in the industrialized world. According to the International Labor Organization, ‚??Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers.‚?ĚTo make things worse, Americans have little to show for their hard work and high productivity. The United States has the largest income inequality of rich nations, which means that ordinary people are struggling more just to make ends meet and keep their heads above water. No wonder that job-induced stress is on the rise.More people want to travel this year than at any time since the start of the Great Recession. Six in 10 people said that taking a vacation this year is important, according to a new Gallup poll. Despite high gas prices and airfare, high unemployment and an uncertain economy, many people still want to travel.However, 29 percent are planning less travel than last year due to high fuel costs, 22 percent of Americans will opt for a ‚??staycation‚?Ě and only 20 percent are planning to travel more, the poll said.My advice: Take the vacation days you've earned, and spend them. You could use the break.David A. Love is a writer for Progressive Media Project, a source of liberal commentary on domestic and international issues; it is affiliated with The Progressive magazine, 409 E. Main St., Madison, WI 53703; email: pmproj@progressive.org; website: www.progressive.org. For information on PMP's funding, visit http://www.progressive.org/pmpabout.htmlanchorsupport.

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