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The Vacation Shame Game Is Keeping American Millennials From Taking Paid Time Off

August 26, 2017 Insurance No Comments Email Email

Americans, especially millennials, are not taking their paid time off and remain vacation deprived due to feeling negative emotions when asking for time off, according to the eighth annual Allianz Travel Insurance Vacation Confidence Index* released by Allianz Global Assistance.

The survey found that one in four Americans (25 percent) report feeling negative emotions when asking for time off from their employers, and millennials (aged 18 to 34) are the most likely to feel nervous, guilty, afraid or shameful because of a time-off request.

Respondents reported that the most common reasons they had negative feelings when asking for time off included:  they did not want to disappoint their immediate teams and peers or direct boss and managers, the senior management team expects them not to take all their vacation time, and self-guilt.

These negative emotions could be causing Americans to hold off on taking a vacation. The survey found that 42 percent of Americans do not take all their allotted paid vacation time, and nearly half (48 percent) are aged 18 to 34, even though millennials and Gen X’ers are more likely than Baby Boomers to feel that annual vacations are important.

  18-34 35-54 55+
Percentage of Americans who don’t take all their vacation 48 percent 36 percent 42 percent
Feelings When Asking Employer for Vacation:
Nervous 25 percent 14 percent 6 percent
Guilty 16 percent 14 percent 6 percent
Afraid 10 percent 8 percent 3 percent
Shameful 7 percent 4 percent


“Many Americans, millennials in particular, are leaving vacation days on the table which could be the result of vacation shaming – the sense of shame, guilt or other negative feelings received from co-workers for taking a vacation,” said Daniel Durazo, director of communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA. “We were surprised to see that when compared to older generations, millennials more commonly succumb to these negative feelings by choosing not to take all their entitled vacation days. Meanwhile, Gen X’ers place the same amount of importance on vacations, but seem to have the system better figured out because they are the most likely to take all their allotted vacation time.”

Millennials are not alone in being vacation deprived. Overall an earlier release of the survey** found that it’s been more than a year since half of Americans (53 percent) last took a vacation and nearly four in ten (37 percent) haven’t taken a vacation in more than two years.

The survey also showed that the delay on taking a vacation could correlate to the decreasing significance put on annual vacations. A shocking 41 percent of Americans say annual vacations are not very (18 percent) or not at all (23 percent) important to them, a six-point increase from 2016.

video highlighting the survey’s findings is available for download.

The Vacation Confidence Index was conducted by national polling firm Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Allianz Global Assistance USA. A vacation is defined as a leisure trip of at least a week to a place that is 100 miles or more from one’s home.

Allianz Global Assistance offers travel insurance*** through most major U.S. airlines, leading travel agents, online travel agencies, other travel suppliers and directly to consumers. For more information on Allianz Global Assistance and the policies offered for travelers, please visit:

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