Survey: Half of Workers Would Sacrifice Some Benefits for More Time Off

Denver — July 24

Half of workers who receive paid vacation time in the nation’s 10 largest cities would be willing to sacrifice a workplace benefit in exchange for more paid time off, according to a recent survey. Despite their desire for more free time, however, most employees don’t even use the vacation time they already receive.

This is the key finding from “Inspirato Insights: American Attitudes on Paid Time Off,” a new survey commissioned by destination vacation club Inspirato among 2,534 adults in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Additional findings include:

Despite the down economy, more than one tenth of all employees who receive vacation time from their employer would prefer more time off over a higher salary or a promotion, and one sixth would forgo a compensation bonus in exchange for more paid time off.

Ten percent of all workers given any vacation time would give up their company’s 401(k) match in return for more vacation time, the survey said.

The coveted private office from days gone by no longer seems to be the desirable benefit it once was — a quarter of respondents indicated they’d give up a chance at a private office for more vacation time.

However, only a fraction (5 percent) of workers who receive any vacation time are willing to take a pay cut for more time away from work, according to the survey.

But a majority of employees who receive paid time off (57 percent) do not use all the vacation time they receive. Employees in Los Angeles and San Francisco leave the most vacation time behind — about a third of their allotted time overall.

Even so, 47 percent of Los Angeles workers with paid vacation and 43 percent of San Francisco workers with paid vacation said they were willing to give up a different workplace benefit for more paid time off.

Overall, 85 percent of survey respondents indicated their employer provides a paid vacation benefit, with an average of just over 19 days per year.

Chicago employees reported receiving the highest number of vacation days, with 30 percent indicating they received 21 days or more of paid vacation time per year. Boston and San Francisco had the highest percentage of workers who lack paid vacation time, with 19 percent of respondents in each city reporting they received zero paid vacation days per year.

A willingness to sacrifice something in favor of vacation isn’t just limited to the workplace. Most survey respondents (80 percent) reported that they would be willing to skip an important event — including a baptism, graduation, wedding, funeral or dinner party hosted by a boss — to go on vacation.

The survey uncovered some notable regional differences in attitudes toward paid time off as well.

Washington, D.C., employees who receive paid time off are reportedly the most vacation hungry, for instance, with 58 percent indicating they would give up a workplace benefit in exchange for more time off. On the contrary, workers in Boston with paid vacation are least likely (38 percent) to give up anything for more vacation time.

Further, attitudes toward landing that great promotion or new job opportunity vary widely. Nearly a quarter of Philadelphia workers (23 percent) said they would be willing to take a pass on a promotion in favor of more vacation time. In Washington D.C., only a small fraction of employees surveyed (3 percent) said they’d give up a new job opportunity or a promotion in exchange for more time off.

Source: Inspirato