Study: Many Squander PTO Time

Washington — Feb. 20

More than 40 percent of American workers who receive the benefit of paid time off finished the year by squandering a portion of their allotted time, according to a new study by Oxford Economics conducted for the U.S. Travel Association.

Despite an intrinsic understanding that using the leave they’ve earned delivers considerable personal and professional benefits, Americans left an average of 3.2 PTO days on the table in 2013, totaling 429 million unused days among U.S. workers.

According to the study, most managers recognize the benefits of taking leave, namely higher productivity, stronger workplace morale and greater employee retention, as well as significant health benefits. Yet, what managers believe and what employees perceive can be two different things.

Nearly 34 percent of employees indicated that their employer neither encourages nor discourages leave, according to the study, and 17 percent of managers consider employees who take all of their leave to be less dedicated. Four in ten American workers said their employer supported time off, but their heavy workload kept them from using their earned days.

The study was based on a survey of 971 employees, 700 of whom receive PTO as part of their benefits package, conducted between September and October 2013.

Source: U.S. Travel Association