Why Workers Don’t Use Their PTO

Nearly half of workers aren't taking all the paid time off available from their employers.

Finding and retaining quality employees has been a struggle of late for manufacturers. One potential solution that could set employers apart from the pack, is paid time off -- and making sure workers feel empowered to use it without repercussions. 

A recent study from the Pew Research Center found that nearly half of workers, some 46%, aren't taking all the paid time off available from their employers, this includes time set aside for vacation, medical appointments or even dealing with minor illnesses.. Now, before we start jumping to conclusions, it's important to note that 52% of respondents said that they don't take the time off, because they simply don't feel like they need to take more time off. 

However, many workers don't take more time off because they are worried that it could hurt their position at the company. For example, 49% of employees don't take the time because they fear that they might fall behind at work and 19% think it could hurt advancement opportunities. Some 16% believe the time off might even put them at risk of losing their jobs as 12% of respondents say their supervisors discourage employees from taking time off. 

Many workers also worry about the co-workers holding their water while they are out of the office with 43% saying they skip paid time off because they feel badly about dumping additional work on officemates.  

Income and education appears to be a differentiator, with upper-income workers as well as those with at least a bachelor's degree less likely to use all their time off.

Overall, a majority of workers, some 66%, feel they work the right amount of hours every week. About a quarter think they are working too much and 10% admitted that they aren't working enough. 

Job satisfaction and a good work/life balance are instrumental in our quality of life, and our jobs play a large role not only in our livelihoods, but in our identity. Nearly 40% of workers say their career is extremely important to their overall identity with another 34% admitting it’s at least somewhat important. While it’s understandable that you can’t always make every employee happy, making sure they use all of their paid time off without fear of reprisal could mean a happier, and likely more productive, workforce. 

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