Are Vacations Becoming a Thing of the Past?

Are Vacations Becoming a Thing of the Past?

A recent study funded by the U.S. Travel Association shows that over the last decade, Americans are taking less vacation days per year than they formerly did.

According to the study, done by Oxford Economics, the average American with paid time off (PTO) has only been using 16 of a possible 20.9 available days.  Between the years of 1976 and 2000, the average number of used days was 20.3, close to four more days than that of current times.  Based on those numbers the study revealed that Americans are wasting 169 million days of PTO, totaling around $52.4 billion, or an average of $504 per worker.

One of the key findings of the study says, “By choosing to work instead of taking PTO, employees are essentially working for their employers for free.”

Despite the idea that working hard and showing up every day will help you get a raise or promotion, the report shows otherwise.

Employees that left more PTO days on the table at the end of the year are actually less likely to receive a bonus, raise or promotion by 6.5%.  According to the findings, the one thing that employees are gaining by using less vacation days is a whole lot of added stress.

“America’s work martyrs aren’t more successful,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.  “We need to change our thinking.  All work and no play is not going to get you ahead – it’s only going to get you more stress.”


CBS This Morning- All Work & No Play from U.S. Travel on Vimeo.

A direct correlation between less time off and higher levels of work related stress were found during the study.  As the number of unused PTO days went up, so did the stress level.  Workers using less time off reported feeling “very” or “extremely” stressed while at work.

Looking further into the report shows that it’s not just employees that are feeling the sting of less PTO days taken.  The economy is also missing out on a huge opportunity to gain some more positive traction.

The findings of the study suggest that if American workers were to go back to the way they vacationed a decade ago, the U.S. economy would receive a tremendous benefit from it.

“Annual vacation days taken by U.S. employees would jump 27 percent, equivalent to 768 million additional PTO days and delivering a $284 billion impact across the entire U.S. economy, including $118 billion in direct travel spending alone.”

The report also pointed out that some Americans, roughly 23.4%, are able to carryover or bank their PTO.  Of those workers that can, 30% can only keep five days or less and in most cases, those days have expiration dates.

Oxford Economics used data from the Current Population Survey, provided by the U.S. Labor Department as well as a survey done by GfK that was taken in June of 2014 to come to their final findings.

So although the year is close to over, it’s never too early to start planning for next year.  Take some long weekends, book a trip somewhere you always wanted to go, but most importantly, use the time you have.  Make some memories! You’ll be helping the economy as well as your stress levels.

For the full study conducted by Oxford Economics, click here: ———> “All Work and No Pay: The Impact of Forfeited Time Off”

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