Expedia has released the results of its annual 2015 Vacation Deprivation study. In its 15th year, the study surveyed 9,273 employed adults across 26 countries in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and South America.

The 2015 report found that worldwide, the median number of paid vacation days available to workers is just under 25 days per year, in addition to public holidays. Collectively, workers take about 20 of them, leaving 20% unused.

Focusing in on New Zealand, this rises to 25%, ranking the country’s workers among the most holiday-deprived in the world. New Zealand workers are entitled, on average, to 20 days annual leave and take only 15, leaving five days unused.

Europeans are the world’s least-deprived holidaymakers: workers in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Denmark and Finland are all offered 30 days off, on average. The Germans, French, Spanish and Finnish use nearly all of those days, while the Danish take 28, Italians take 25 and Swedes take 25.

Outside of Europe, paid holidays are considered more of a luxury than a right. South Koreans are the world’s most vacation deprived workers – while they’re offered 15, they take only six days off within a given year. The Japanese report that 20 days are available to them, but they take 12, while in North America, American workers leave four full days of vacation on the table each year, with 15 available and 11 taken.

Not all unused annual leave days are lost forever; 26% of New Zealand workers report a desire to “bank” annual leave to use the following year, well above the global average of 19%. A quarter (27%) of Kiwi workers cite financial concerns as a barrier and a further 23% say their work schedules don’t permit taking more annual leave than they do.

When it comes to how to make the most of annual leave, the global trend, reflected in New Zealand, is to use annual leave throughout the year versus taking one long break. Half of Kiwi workers (50%) take several short holidays and long weekends, versus 26% who take one long break.

Kelly Cull, Expedia.co.nz travel expert, commented on the report:It seems for many New Zealanders, whilst they’re aware of the importance of taking holidays, they are a guilty pleasure rather than something that is needed so they can recharge and be more productive in their jobs. A healthy work-life balance is critical, and travel doesn’t have to be expensive. Two thirds of New Zealand workers say their bosses are supportive of them taking leave so 2016 should be the year where New Zealanders say yes to getting out there and enjoying their lives outside the office.”

Nine in ten (89%) of New Zealand’s workers “somewhat or strongly agree” they feel happier after a holiday. More sleep (average 7.7hrs on holiday versus 6.9hrs at home), feeling less stressed (87%) and being more focused at work (80%) were other perceived positive outcomes from having a holiday.

The full Vacation Deprivation list – vacation days offered versus days taken – follows: 





Vacation Days Offered


Days Taken


Number Unused

Australia 20 18 2
Austria 25 25
Brazil 30 30
Canada 15 15
Denmark 30 28 2
Finland 30 30
France 30 30
Germany 30 30
Hong Kong 15 15
India 20 15 5
Ireland 21 20 1
Italy 30 25 5
Japan 20 12 8
Malaysia 14 10 4
Mexico 15 12 3
Netherlands 25 22 3
New Zealand 20 15 5
Norway 25 25
Singapore 15 14 1
South Korea 15 6 9
Spain 30 30
Sweden 30 25 5
Thailand 10 10
UAE 30 30
USA 15 11 4
UK 25 25


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