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Germany tops ‘vacation deprivation’ ranking: The surprising reason workers don’t take time off

One generation in particular is not using up their holiday allowance.
One generation in particular is not using up their holiday allowance. Copyright Vidar Nordli-Mathisen
Copyright Vidar Nordli-Mathisen
By Rebecca Ann Hughes
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One generation in particular is not using up their holiday allowance.


Going on holiday is one of the best ways to reduce stress, boost your mood and take time away from technology. 

But a new study has found that some Europeans are suffering from severe “vacation deprivation”. 

Travel booking site Expedia reports that as many as 80 per cent of young people in some European countries feel they don’t take enough holidays. 

Here are the countries and generations that are most affected. 

Young Europeans are the most vacation deprived generation

Expedia’s 24th Vacation Deprivation report found that Gen Zers globally are more holiday deprived than any other generation. 

While only 38 per cent of baby boomers - people born between 1946 and 1964 - in the UK report they feel like they don’t have enough vacation time, 70 per cent of Britain’s youngest workers claim to be deprived of enough time off.

In France, this rises to 55 per cent of boomers and 82 per cent of Gen Zers. 

In Germany, the youngest working generation has on average half a day more vacation than the baby boomer generation, but left around four holiday days unused last year. In contrast, boomers only had 2.5 days left in their vacation account.

Germans are the most vacation deprived in the world

The biggest year-on-year shift in vacation deprivation sees Germans become 14 per cent more holiday deprived than last year.

This makes Germans the most vacation deprived in the world at 84 per cent followed by the French at 69 per cent.

FOMO is keeping Gen Z from taking holidays

While boomers take time off more frequently, more than half of Gen Z workers (53 per cent) in the UK go six months or more between holidays. Only 7 per cent allow themselves a break from work every month. 

For today’s youngest workforce, the big thing holding them back is FOMO - fear of missing out. 

While FOMO is not exclusive to any particular generation, it’s most prevalent in Gen Z with one in two in the UK saying they have fear of missing out on something important at work when away, versus just 16 per cent of boomers.

Around one in two Gen Zers in Germany say they are afraid that important decisions will be made at work or that colleagues will be given preference when they are on vacation. 

Among German baby boomers, on the other hand, just 16 per cent are influenced by FOMO in their working lives. 


Another reason that makes it difficult for UK Gen Zers to take time off is guilt. Fifty-two per cent feel guilty having coworkers covering their work when on a trip, and 50 per cent feel the need to apologise for taking annual leave. Not even a fifth of Boomers share the same concerns.

Similarly in Germany, 47 per cent of Gen Z, but only 16 per cent of baby boomers, say they feel bad because colleagues have to take over their tasks while they are away. 

Around three times as many Gen Z employees as boomers also feel like they have to apologise for their vacation requests.

In France, 50 per cent of young workers feel the need to apologise for taking time off compared to 14 per cent of boomers.


France’s young workers don’t take all their holiday leave

With an average of 27.4 days of paid holiday, Gen Z has the fewest days in France, while boomers receive an average of 3.9 days more (31.3 days). 

Gen Z took an average of 23.7 days off in 2023, leaving an average of 3.7 days unused. Boomers even had the luxury of taking 0.3 days more than the number of days allocated to them (31.6 days).

While baby boomers take holidays more frequently, almost half of Gen Z employees wait six months or more between departures. 

British women are more holiday deprived than men

For Brits, 56 per cent feel holiday deprived according to Expedia’s report, 10 per cent higher than five years ago. Almost one in five Brits went a full year without a holiday last year.


British women feel more vacation deprived than men (57 per cent versus 54 per cent) and the top reasons for not holidaying are that people are too busy (20 per cent), saving time off for unexpected leave (20 per cent) and saving money for one big trip (18 per cent).

Almost 90 per cent of Brits are in favour of moving to a 4-day week, predominantly to have more personal time (40 per cent) for things like appointments, managing the household and projects, with a quarter saying they’d use that extra time to travel.

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