We’re getting paid vacation time, but not using all of it.
Americans have so much anxiety about their work that they’d rather just skip the “time off” part of paid time off.
Personal finance company Bankrate surveyed 1,000 working Americans and found most — 52 percent of them — earned paid vacation time they didn’t plan to use last year. Even more, 56 percent, said they would prefer one week of extra pay rather than one week of paid vacation time.
Almost nobody was unsure whether they would take their vacation time: 47 percent planned to use it all, leaving just 1 percent undecided about their plans.
Some companies let you carry over vacation time to the following year, and that was the most common reason people gave for not using every vacation day, followed by having too much work to get done.
The youngest workers are most likely to forsake vacations. The study reveals that one quarter of millennials aged 18-25 weren’t using any time off in 2016, compared to fewer than 10 percent of Americans overall.
Work hard, play never
One reason Americans are deciding not to use their paid time off is the work ethic of our culture. Previous research has shown Americans have the least amount of paid time off among developed countries.
And even when we go on vacation, many are still plugged into work — a past study showed nearly two-thirds of working adults in America check their work email while on vacation.
Though many Americans view taking time off as a lack of commitment to their job, recharging can benefit your career and health. Workplace stress, defined as working long hours, worrying about job insecurity, and lack of a work-life balance, contributes to 120,000 deaths per year, according to one study.
So maybe Americans should consider trying to lighten up, take their full time off, and escape their work lives.