1 in 10 Americans does not take vacation days off

WASHINGTON — It is summer vacation planning season, but many Americans are apparently not making vacation plans, according to a new Glassdoor survey that asks workers how much of their paid time off they actually take.

The survey of more than 2,200 adults who are eligible for paid time off found nearly one in 10 (9 percent) took absolutely no paid time off over the last 12 months. Another 23 percent said they took between 1 percent and 25 percent of the time off for which they’re eligible, and 19 percent said they took half of it or less.

For many of those taking vacation time, it still doesn’t mean getting away from work.

Glassdoor said 66 percent of Americans report working when on vacation, up from 61 percent three years ago.

Below are some other findings from the survey.

  • 29 percent who took vacation time in the past 12 months report being contacted by a co-workers.
  • 25 percent report being contacted by their boss.
  • 23 percent had a difficult time not thinking about work while on vacation.
  • 14 percent said a family member complained that they were working while on vacation.

“We are seeing a push and pull situation when it comes to employees taking vacation and paid time off, in which people attempt to step away from the office for a break from work, but technology is keeping them connected with the swipe of a finger,” said Carmel Galvin, Glassdoor chief human resources officer.

Galvin makes the argument that taking time off, even if employees think it puts them behind, actually has a ripple effect of benefits.

“It allows employees to return to work feeling more productive, creative, recharged and reenergized. In turn, employers should consider what a vacation really means — to actually vacate work — and how they can support employees to find true rest and relaxation to avoid burnout and turnover within their organizations,” he said.

The survey also found some employees use vacation time to try to get away from the boss permanently, with 12 percent using their paid vacation time off in the past 12 months to interview for another job.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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