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NextGen Magazine


Study: Americans Only Use About Half of Eligible Vacation Days

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Dec 5, 2017

A survey of 2,000 adults has found that, even when they qualify for vacation time, Americans tend to only use about half of their total allotted days off per year, according to CNBC. Of those who have paid time off, only 23 percent took all the time they were eligible for, while 10 percent took 76 percent or more, 16 percent took 50-75 percent, 19 percent took 25 to 50 percent, 23 percent took 1 to 25 percent, and 9 percent took no time off at all. Overall, this counts for 206 million lost vacation days that added up to about $66.4 billion in lost benefits, or an average of $604 per worker. 

This tracks very similarly to another study performed by Project Time Off, which found that 55 percent of Americans left vacation days unused. Reasons why people didn't use all their time off included fears of returning to a mountain of work, no one else available to do the job, being unable to financially afford a vacation, that it's harder to take time off as you grow within the company, a desire to show complete dedication to the business, and a fear of being seen as replaceable. 

Of course, this is all assuming a job offers paid vacation at all. A report from the Center of Economic and Policy Research said that the U.S. is the only industrialized nation in the world without a mandatory paid time off law. Consequently, according to the report, almost one in four Americans has no paid vacation (23 percent) and no paid holidays (23 percent) at all.