Survey: Most workers don’t use all their time off

Whether it’s due to employee guilt, overwork or fear of the boss, 600 million days off went unused this year. Managers would do well to encourage staffers to take a respite—and head off burnout.

Looking for an inexpensive way to build goodwill among your employees?

Increase their paid days off. Seventy percent of them probably won’t use the extra vacation time, anyway.

So a survey suggests in a study that hints at the nature of toil, play and workplace guilt in America.

The survey was done by TSheets, an online time-tracking system. Last year 70 percent of U.S. workers didn’t take all the paid time off (PTO) they were due, it revealed, leaving millions of potential visits to the beach or the ballpark unused.

“Seventy percent was a real shocker to me,” says Patrick Adcock, an analyst at TSheets. “Then when you do the math to add up how many hours that was: 600 million days is what we’re looking at here. That’s just a massive number.”

Though only 16 percent of respondents said they received no PTO at all last year, even workers with vacation days don’t seem to be heading for the Rockies and shutting off their smartphones for weeks.

10 or more unused days

Typically, employers give 11–15 days per year, and 26 percent of the respondents had 10 or more unused days at year’s end, the survey reveals.

Why, for the love of Pete?

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