Americans Have $272 Billion In Unused Vacation Days — & It’s A Problem

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While the idea of work martyrdom is nothing new (hello, burnout), here’s one way to quantify it that you might not be thinking about: the money you’re losing by not taking vacation days. In a recent study, Project: Time Off looked at the value of those unused days and the results are shocking. It found that Americans have $272 billion worth of untouched vacation days, up 21% from just a year ago.

Why aren’t people using their paid time off? The answers, sadly, might not surprise you: aside from work martyrdom, there’s also the fear of accumulated work upon return or the sense that your company discourages taking time off.

Interestingly, the study also found that this couldn’t be further from the truth: 93% of managers surveyed said time off is important for employees. But they’re not taking vacation days, either — over half of the managers in the study reported not taking advantage of all their paid days off.

While time off has many benefits — like increased productivity — the actual cash value of those unused days are important to consider, as well. Vacation days are part of an employee’s complete benefits package. By not taking advantage of them, employees are essentially leaving money on the table (and lowering their overall compensation package).

Even if you don’t have the money to take a big trip, consider the benefits of a staycation — or check out our roundup of budget getaways for some inspiration.

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