Bad for Business: American Workers Forfeit Over $66 Billion in Time Off

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A shocking new report reveals that American workers are sacrificing around $66 billion worth of vacation time. This is troubling not only for the employees, who risk burning out, but it’s also bad for their companies, who can see a decrease in both productivity and their bottom line.

Troubling News for Employers

A new Project: Time Off report, which surveyed nearly 6,000 American workers over the age of 18, who work for more than 35 hours a week and are eligible for time off, found that American workers are leaving nearly $66 billion worth of vacation time on the table.

The report also found huge discrepancies between management and non-management. While 93% of managers say that time off is important for their employees, 59% of their employees forfeited at least a portion of their vacation time. 91% of managers say they actively encourage employees to take time off, but 43% of this group talk to employees once a year or less about vacation. Most revealing of all, however, is that 55% of managers feel supported in taking time off, while less than 40% of their employees feel supported in taking time off.

Why Is This Bad News for Businesses? 

When employees have time away from work, it rejuvenates them – which leads to increased productivity, new idea generation, improved performance and better retention. Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, tells readers that when "the brain can think positively, productivity improves by 31 percent, sales increase by 37 percent, and creativity and revenues can triple." That’s not all. A prior Project: Time Off study found that employees who take all of their vacation time increase their chances of being promoted and getting a raise.

How Can I Encourage My Employees to Take Time Off

By now it is obvious that getting employees to take time off is in the best interest of your company, but how can we achieve this? C.A. Short Company has a few recommendations:

  1. Be a positive example by using your own vacation
  2. Trust your employees to conduct your day-to-day tasks when you are away on vacation
  3. Communicate to your employees the value of using vacation
  4. During company-wide and department meetings, remind your employees to take time off
  5. Do NOT offer payment of unused vacation days
  6. Cross-train within your organization to reduce employee anxiety about leaving their job in the hands of others.

To learn more tips about how you can increase the wellness of your employees, be sure to subscribe to our blog!


7 New Rules of Employee Engagement Wallchart

C.A. Short Company partners with companies to manage, drive and facilitate increased employee engagement to increase financial performance, productivity, quality, and core performance outcomes. Our process and research-based platform enables executives and managers to engage their teams to increase the bottom line, motivate staff, and incentivize positive behavior. To request a Complimentary Consultation, please click here. 


Topics: Employee Engagement, vacation

Jeff Ross, CPA, CRP, CSM

About the Author
Jeff Ross, CPA, CRP, CSM

Mr. Ross, a certified public accountant, joined the C.A. Short Company as its controller in June 1993 and was named Chief Financial Officer in November 1996. From there, Jeff was promoted to President and Chief Financial Officer, and in 2017, was appointed CEO. Before joining C.A. Short Company, Ross was employed as an accountant by Hausser + Taylor, a large public accounting and consulting firm. Jeff presently serves on the Board of Directors of 2XSalt Ministries, Charlotte, NC and is a member of North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants, The Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants, and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Mr. Ross graduated from The Ohio State University with Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in 1989.

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