You’ll Never Guess How Many Vacation Days We Wasted Last Year
Last year, towards the end of November, I looked around and realized that I had practically all of my vacation days left. Knowing my company’s use ’em or lose ’em policy, I scrambled to use as many days as I could before the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2016. Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful and finished off the year with about 5 or so says in my reserve. And apparently, I’m not alone.
According to a recent study titled “The State of American Vacation: How Vacation Became a Casualty of Our Work Culture,” Americans forfeited 658 million vacation days in 2015 alone, which breaks down to an average of two wasted days per employee.
“By giving up this time off, Americans are effectively volunteering hundreds of millions of days of free work for their employers, which results in $61.4 billion in forfeited benefits,” researchers explained.
The study, which was conducted by Project Time Off found that Americans once took 20 days off from work per year; however, around the year 2000, that number began to steadily decline. These days, we’re taking a week less off work per year than we did in 1999.
As for why we’re less inclined to take advantage of the vacation time to which we’re entitled, the reasons vary. 37 percent of the study’s 5,600 participants who forfeited time said that they didn’t use their time because they had a fear of returning to an overwhelming workload. 22 percent believed that asking for vacation time would make them appear that they were not dedicated to the job. 30 percent said that there was no one in the office who could do their jobs in their absence.
Although it seems that missing fewer days of work and forfeiting vacation time would help one to get ahead, researchers say that this actually has an adverse effect.
“Employees who take 10 or less days of vacation time are less likely to have received a raise or bonus in the last three years than those who took 11 days or more,” Project Time Off explained.
Apparently, it’s crucial to plan your vacations or time off in advance if you want to ensure that all of your time is used by the end of the year. The report found that 51 percent of employees who planned their vacation used all of their time.