Workers in America treat vacation days as a gift, not a right, according to the latest Vacation Deprivation study from Expedia.

Flickr User Sankara Subramanian

In the United States last year, workers with 14 days of vacation took just ten. Workers in France, meanwhile, were given 30 vacation days and took every one of them. It was a nearly identical situation in Denmark.

Survey respondents in the U.S. offered several reasons for leaving vacation days unused, many of which reflected a weak economy. Some said they couldn't afford the extra spending that comes with days off, while others expressed fear that their absence would make them vulnerable in the workplace, and their employer may realize the company performs just fine without them.

The root of the U.S. pattern is in the country's business culture, according to Chester Spell, associate professor of management at Rutgers. The country puts a strong emphasis on working extremely hard. However, workers should understand the purpose of vacation days in the first place.

"People can rest and recharge, and come back more productive than before," Spell said.

The vacation study was based on responses from more than 8,500 workers in 24 countries.