Americans might be workaholics, but not necessarily because they’re in love with work. Studies show Americans yearn for vacation time, but some of them can’t bring themselves to take it.
A survey commissioned by Namely, a payroll and benefits company, finds that a majority of U.S. workers intend to take 15 days of vacation per year. It also found that 40 percent of employees have or would be willing to sacrifice pay to gain more paid time off. Similarly, more than two-thirds of workers said that vacation policies were at least somewhat critical when considering a new job.
But as a statement accompanying the survey from the company points out, another recent study found that the average American worker only take 11 days off per year.
The lower average is largely driven by the fact that many employees receive far less than three weeks of vacation a year, but there is some evidence to suggest that some workers who are entitled to generous PTO do not make use of it.
A quarter of workers in the Namely survey cited strict company policies as an obstacle to taking vacation, while a fifth cited “stress at the thought of missing time at work” and 16 percent reported a “negative perception” in their organization of taking time off.
“What this tells us is that despite the best intentions to take large chunks of time away from work and unplug from technology, employees are feeling confined and are using vacation time differently than previous generations,” said Matt Straz, founder and CEO of Namely.
In recent years, a number of major companies have made a point of offering generous vacation benefits. Some offer unlimited vacation, while others have put in place policies to encourage workers to make use of their vacation, including bonuses for taking time off.