Two-fifths (39 per cent) of U.S. employees say they haven’t taken a vacation in the last 12 months, according to a new survey by Eagle Hill Consulting.

The survey, which polled more than 1,000 workers, found lower-income employees (59 per cent) and younger staff (43 per cent) were most likely to not take a vacation.

Respondents cited cost (45 per cent) as the No. 1 barrier to taking time off, followed by self-imposed pressure to stay on top of work (33 per cent), a heavy workload (29 per cent), a lack of available colleagues to cover their work (29 per cent) and not having paid time off (23 per cent).

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In addition, while more than half (56 per cent) of employees said they fully disconnect from work during vacation, more than a quarter (27 per cent) said they still check work email and messages.

“It’s not just employees who benefit from taking a break,” said Melissa Jezior, president and chief executive officer of Eagle Hill Consulting, in a press release. “Employers that encourage employees to take time off from work are far more likely to have an engaged workforce at its peak performance. Smart employers will foster a culture that enables employees to take vacations and fully unplug from their job pressures.”

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