A new study by Project: Time Off has revealed that more Americans are taking advantage of paid vacation time. The study also revealed that an estimated 54% of Americans still left vacation days unused in 2016.
Considering that 92% of employees report that their vacation time is important to them, it would stand to reason that fewer people would have left vacation days unused in 2016. But the numbers aren’t all bad. In fact, Americans used an average of 16.8 vacation days per worker in 2016, up from 16.2 in 2015. That’s the largest uptick in vacation time utilized since a drastic decline began in 2000.
Project: Time Off reports that the increase was due in large part to the fact that more vacation days were earned initially in 2016. But the sharp increase could also be a sign that employees across the nation are warming up to making use of well-deserved time off.
The hesitation towards taking vacation days is due to a variety of factors. Some of the most prominent include returning to piles of unfinished work, an inability to have someone cover a position during a vacation, and being unable to afford a vacation. In total, reasoning like this resulted in workers forfeiting a total of $66.4 billion in benefits. And that’s just data from 2016.
Additional data revealed that some cities in the U.S. were better at utilizing their vacation time than others. Pittsburgh, for example, came out on top when it came to using vacation time.
A survey by Project: Time Off revealed that only 40% of employees in Pittsburgh reported having some vacation time they still hadn’t used. This number put the city in the number one position for vacation days used out of the nation’s top 30 metropolitan areas.
By contrast, Washington, D.C. employees ranked worst in the nation for using vacation time. A depressing 64% of employees working in the District reported leaving vacation days unused in 2016.
“Across America, vacation has become the unintended victim of a 24/7 work culture, but there are specific parts of the country living on the edge of burnout where employees particularly need to take time off,” said Project: Time Off report writer Katie Denis in a public statement.
Denis and the entire Project: Time Off organization hold firm to the belief that “employees who take time off are happier, healthier, and more productive,” according to her statement.
It’s safe to say that the survey for 2017 will surely hold more fascinating data and, with any luck, another increase in Americans using vacation time.