If you ask any human resources professional in the world about the importance of vacation time for employees, they will all tell you the same thing. Taking time off from work is absolutely essential. In fact, its beneficial for both employees and employers.

Studies have shown that employees who take regular vacations are happier at their jobs, more productive, more engaged and perform at a higher level. This is why most HR experts recommend that employees should take all of the vacation time that they are a lot. It has been shown that countries around the world that rank highest on the happiness index are also countries that give their workforce the most time off from work.

But in America, more and more employees are choosing not to use all of their vacation time. Why is that?

According to the statistics, only 25 percent of American workers take all of their time off. This means that 75 percent of the American workforce is not using all of their allotted vacation time. One of the most shocking statistics is that 15 percent of American workers are not using any vacation time at all!

In addition, many workers who do take time off admit that they work while they are on vacation. Over 60 percent of American workers admit to doing work while they are taking time off.

What are the reasons behind this? Why can’t we simply disconnect from work while we are on vacation?

Some are afraid of being “out-worked” by employees while they are away. Some believe that there is no one at the company that can do the work that they are assigned to while they are on vacation. Many are working during vacation time in order to impress their higher-ups in hopes of getting a promotion. And some are afraid that they will lose their jobs if they do not work while taking time off.

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Almost a quarter of American workers say that they can’t disconnect from work while on vacation because they get contacted by a co-worker while on vacation. A fifth of workers say that their boss contacts them while they are on vacation.

The bottom line is that the American work culture is not one that facilitates the ability to take time off and completely disconnect from your job while doing so. Whether it is the competitive nature of the business world in America or the effects of the recent economic crisis, more and more workers don’t feel comfortable about not working.

Why aren't most employees taking vacation leaves?