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European workers get most vacation, but feel most deprived

Wednesday, 20 Nov 2013 | 11:10 PM ET
Daniel Grill | Getty Images

Europeans enjoy the most vacation days per year, a study from travel website Expedia has found, yet they also complain the most about feeling 'vacation deprived.'

The Expedia 2013 Vacation Deprivation Study surveyed 8,535 people across 24 countries and five continents about their vacations, and found that a dramatic contrast exists between work-life balances around the world.

(Read more: Hate your job? You probably live in the US)

French workers, for example, receive an average of 30 days holiday a year, and are also likely to use their full entitlement. However, interestingly 90 percent of French respondents told Expedia that they didn't feel it was enough.

European workers in general tended to receive more holidays than workers in Asia, the survey found.

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In Denmark, the average worker gets 30 days a year and takes 29, while in Spain, the average is also 30 with 26 of those taken. Italians, receive less at 28 days a year, but usually only take 20 of those.

Meanwhile in the U.K. workers typically have 25 days holiday a year to take and use all of them.

However, while workers in Asia and the U.S. have a much lower holiday entitlement, they also feel less holiday deprived, the survey found.

U.S. workers receive an average of 14 holidays, and took on average 10 of their allocated days. But in contrast to Europe's 90 percent dissatisfaction level, only 59 percent of U.S. workers said they felt they did not get enough time off to achieve a healthy work life balance.

(Read more: Nearly half of global employees unhappy in jobs: Survey)

In Asia, where there is a deeply entrenched culture of hard work and long hours, unsurprisingly the survey showed that some of the continent's larger economies had the lowest holiday allocation and employees were less likely to use it all.

In Thailand workers were allocated 11 days a year on average, and only took 8. In Malaysia, only 12 days were given and 10 taken.

But workers in Japan and South Korea were the worst off, Expedia data found. In Japan workers receive a healthy 18 days' vacation but only took 7 of them on average. While in South Korea, workers receive an average 10 days holiday, and only take 7 as well.

Furthermore, Expedia found that for some countries, vacation from work did not necessarily equate to a full break from the office.

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Europeans were most likely to take their BlackBerry to the beach, with 93 percent of French workers admitting to checking work voicemail and email while on holiday. Indian workers also scored highly in this category at 94 percent, along with Thais at 92 percent.

U.K. and Danish workers were among the best at separating work and vacation. Only 46 percent of both British and Danish workers said they kept an eye on work correspondence on holiday.

The survey also looked into how supportive bosses are perceived to be in helping employees use their full holiday allocation.

Even though U.S. employees said they only took 10 of their 14 days a year, 76 percent of respondents rank their bosses as supportive. Swedish bosses received the top score, however, with 80 percent of Swedish workers ranking their bosses as supportive.

(Read more: Employment gap between rich and poor highest on record)

Italian and Danish bosses scored the lowest at 44 percent and 49 percent respectively, while South Korea also clocked a lower score at 43 percent.

—By CNBC's Katie Holliday: Follow her on Twitter @hollidaykatie

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