Americans Workers Are Vacation-Challenged

The majority (52%) of American workers who get paid vacation days will fail to use up all of their allotted days this year, a new survey from Bankrate finds.

Americans already get fewer paid vacation days than many other workers in advanced economies do. Now, we learn that most are not even taking the time due them.

We are a vacation –challenged country.

Not only do we not typically get much in the way of paid vacation, but we squander much of what we do get – either by not taking the days or working while “on vacation.”

What is the matter with us Americans?

Bankrate said that, among those who get paid vacation time and won’t use all of it, the most popular responses are: 7-10 days left over (30%), 4-6 days (21%) and 1-3 days (15%).  8% expect that they’ll leave more than 30 days on the table.

The median is 7 days and the average is 19.

59% of younger millennials (18-25 year-olds) won’t use all of their company-provided time this year.  In fact, 25% say they’ll use none of their paid vacation days for 2016, compared to only 9% of older millennials (age 26-35), 6% of Gen-Xers and 7% of Baby Boomers.

“This ‘workaholic’ approach is deeply embedded in our country’s culture, but working more hours and sacrificing vacation days does not make you a better employee or help you climb the ladder any faster,” said Sarah Berger, personal finance expert and “The Cashlorette” at

“Without taking time to recharge, employees can find themselves stressed, overworked and sick – all of which have a direct impact on their work performance,” she said.

Many companies offer employees the option of rolling over unused vacation time into the next calendar year which can be helpful to plan for an extended vacation or major life event.

It seems many are taking advantage of this perk, with 35% giving this reason for not using up all vacation days this year.

Other reasons for not using vacation time include: too much work (23%), enjoy working (16%), can’t afford to go anywhere (13%) and afraid your job will be at risk if you take too much time off (4%).

Given a choice between extra cash or additional paid time-off, cash wins out.  A majority of working Americans would prefer a cash bonus equal to 1 week of pay (56%) instead of an additional week of paid vacation each year (42%). This is fairly consistent across all age groups.

Face it, we are a nation of burn-out workaholics.

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