Are you afraid to take all your vacation time? Many are

Piling up vacation days and never taking all you have coming to you?

Join the crowd.

A new study done for JetBlue Airways found  57 percent of working Americans won’t use all their vacation time by the end of the year, according to this report from BusinessNewsDaily. On average, they lose out on 11 vacation days, or 70 percent of their total allotted time off.

Not that they don’t want a break.

Some 39 percent worry about asking the boss for their time.

“We were surprised to learn that almost a third of American workers feel guilty, nervous or stressed when asking for a day off of work,” said Grant McCarthy, director of JetBlue Getaways.

39 comments Add your comment


November 17th, 2011
10:42 am

At my office, if you use all of your vacation, that is considered a negative and you may be laid off.

Vacation Bank

November 17th, 2011
1:13 pm

At my place of employment, I am allowed to carry over 240 hours of vacation time. I keep my earned vacation at the max. If I am laid off the company will pay me for my unused vacation time. This is six weeks pay in the bank!


November 17th, 2011
1:21 pm

Guilty or nervous for asking for their EARNED vacation time? That’s screwed up.

This is a point of contention with me. Companies EMPLOY you, not OWN you.

I always like the, “Make sure you check your e-mails and keep your phone on.” Uh. No. I’m going on VACATION. If I wanted to work I’d wouldn’t take VACATION. Look, if the job can’t get the job done because someone takes their earned vacation, that’s the sign of a failed boss.

Just call me old fashioned, but I give the company more than what they pay me. My time is My time.


November 17th, 2011
1:44 pm

Last night my wife met me at the front door. She was wearing a sexy negligee. The only trouble was, she was coming home.


November 18th, 2011
7:15 am

Roberto, I agree with you completely, but the reality is in many cases that such an attitude will get many people black-listed for the next layoff or pay review. Unfortunate but true.

My company is small and I’ve been in other small organizations where employees aren’t allowed to take more than 5 consecutive days off at once, and are expected in some cases to check in with their backup in the office. Some vacation!

My vacation days do not roll over, and we won’t get compensated for unused time, so I’m using them up. I am fully aware of the fact that the company’s not doing too well financially, but it’s my time, and if I get laid off, then it’s my loss!


November 18th, 2011
8:24 am

I most certainly take all my time. It’s my time and I’m not going to let it go to waste.

And my loyalty to my company only goes to my next paycheck. I live by the philosophy that if they didn’t need me, I’d be gone the next day. So why should I show much more loyalty to them than that.


November 18th, 2011
8:34 am

Taking contractually entitled vacation days is not cause to be fired. Period. If it happens, fight it. Or realize that company is not the right place for you and move on.

Road Scholar

November 18th, 2011
8:49 am

I do not get any sick or vacation days off, or any holidays….It’s a bitch…I’m retired! But I did get credit for two years of unused leave to retire “early” after getting paid for 9 weeks of vacation that did not apply to retirement. Those days are in the past!


November 18th, 2011
9:14 am

I am fortunate to work for a company that strongly suggest you take a 5 day straight vacation. Plus you can’t carry over your vacation time from one year to the next so it would be crazy for us not to us ours. My area doesn’t have a problem asking for time off. But we work very hard so we deserve it.


November 18th, 2011
9:26 am

We have 2 weeks paid vacation (some people have more… based on length of time working with company). There are 2 months out of the year (Feb-April) where no vacation is allowed except for special circumstances approved by the GM. That is our busy season. Come May (when the vacation time ends), nearly everybody in the office takes a week vacation. But we all work hard and it is well deserved and earned.

John K

November 18th, 2011
9:49 am

Thankfully my place of employment encourages workers to use their time. It’s been said we work hard, and need that break to re-energize. When I go, I do not check VM or emails. They do have my cell # if there is an emergency.


November 18th, 2011
9:53 am

I am an American ex-pat living in Europe and although there are many, many things I miss about home, the fanatical imbalance between work/personal life is not one of them.

I get 30 days’ vacation plus public holidays and I am encouraged to use ALL of them. My wife just had a baby and she gets 12 months’ maternity leave, 9 of them paid. We have very average jobs.

Although work ethic helped forge the US into the power it is today, some sense of balance is needed as things are incredibly askew right now — people need time to be away and to be with their families. This makes me never want to come back.


November 18th, 2011
9:53 am

I work for an European company and I get around 27 days off per year. No way can I take 27 days off and I usually end up leaving some on the table..


November 18th, 2011
10:05 am

I have used ALL of my EARNED VACATION every year for every year that I am eligible. And I dont use SICK time to steal additional days. I don’t feel bad when I vacation but I always feel refreshed and renewed when I come back. I encourage my employees to do the same.


November 18th, 2011
10:14 am

Any Professionalism at work requires “Responsibility”.

If you take your “vacation time”, just make sure it’s not during some peak work season or deadlines or a thought of “I will work on it when I get back” attitude and especially make sure it is planned in advanced. Not, “Oh, I feel like taking a vacation starting tomorrow because I can”.

Sometimes unplanned events do pop up at work that might effect your vacation time (that was planned ahead of time), that’s just nature of life. When that happens, just have a backup plan or person or whatever can cover you while your gone. Then, let your boss or management or whomever in charge know about it, to give them comfort you during your absence. Remember: THEY NEED YOU!!! that’s why you are working for them.

By doing this it would be a real professional courtesy giving you advantage and comfort while your vacationing (not worrying about work), while letting whomever responsible know that they can feel less stress while you are gone when things go wrong.

DJ Sniper

November 18th, 2011
10:27 am

My company is pretty generous with vacation time. Matter of fact, we are required to use up at least half of our vacation time by the end of June each year. The number of days we get increases each year we work. I’m very fortunate in that aspect. Also, I do NOT work at all when I’m on vacation.

It’s a damn shame that a country as advanced as the USA is so behind the times when it comes to this subject.


November 18th, 2011
10:32 am

In the past, there were years where i didn’t take all of it. However, after my break-up with my ex (partially due to my working too much), i’ve come to value my family mroe and spending more time with my loved ones. With that being said, i most certainly use my days off BUT i work my ass off when i’m at work so there’s no reason for them to look down on me negatively. If you’re afraid to ask and givign it your all at your job, that says something about your character .. you’re weak.


November 18th, 2011
10:37 am

Have any of you had your company health care insurance costs go up? Is this because of Obamacare and all the new regulations and taxes associated with it?


November 18th, 2011
10:38 am

@DJ Sniper, Greece has better government mandated vacation time than we do. How is that working out?


November 18th, 2011
11:03 am

Roberto and Ghost, you have it right my friends. Work is a means to an end, noting more, nothing less. I t doesn’t define who you are as a person and I can promise you there won’t be a word on your gravestone about how much you worked or what vacation time you gave up. Plus, to companies, we’re nothing more than a necessary evil. In other words, they don’t give a damn about you or me. We’re all disposable.


November 18th, 2011
11:15 am

You get less surprised to learn that workers are afraid to ask time off the more you learn about how much latitude employers have in firing employees. Seems we as a state don’t want employers to even worry about the very thought of dealing with giving people time off if it inconveniences them. If you haven’t met anyone that’s been fired for a reason like asking off for the wrong time at the wrong time or when their boss just has the wrong mood, you probably need to meet more wage (non-salaried) workers.

Long-Term Unemployed

November 18th, 2011
11:22 am

I’d just like to have a job—PERIOD. =0(

Do the math

November 18th, 2011
11:30 am

@ LibertyDawg, Switzerland and Sweden both have better government mandated vacation time than we do, yet their standard of living is much higher than ours.


November 18th, 2011
11:35 am

I have a friend that is very scared to take any time off from work. She thinks that if she takes too much time (2 days) that when she returns to work she will have a ‘pink slip’ waiting for her. I told her many times that if someone is going to fire you they will fire you. If you are working or not. It doesn’t matter. She is VERY scared to take ANY time off. I remember once she had a root canal and went to work THE VERY SAME DAY!! Is that NOT crazy, or what? :)


November 18th, 2011
11:38 am

The work life balance in America is a JOKE! No wonder why 20% of adults are on some form of psych meds. I tuly believe a lot of the problem stems from the private industry who’s sole concern is the bottom line. Resources, including ppl, aren’t a main concern for a lot of these companies so burning right through them is just second nature to them. Also, the economy right now is just a bigger stick for them to use by saying if you’re not going to do extra work (forget vacation) someone else out there will. Capitalism at it’s finest. Do you ppl really enjoy spending the majoirty of your life working in an office with limited time to enjoy the world and your family? My dad has always worked harder than anyone I’ve ever met and his vacations consist of getting called in anyaway. I’ve vowed never to work like that, life is to short to be chasing dollar signs that you never get to fully enjoy anyway. I’m lucky enough to have a job that gives plenty of personal time. The pay may not be the best, but having a large amount of personal time is priceless!


November 18th, 2011
11:42 am

Well said, Brad. Well Said!


November 18th, 2011
11:43 am

If my company wants me at my best, then a vacation is in order every 3 months. I have to take time off. Why should I fee guilty? I deserve a break aside from the two days we get every 5. I think we should switch to a 4 day work week, I’ve been saying it for years. There needs to be some sort of balance. I carry over just enough time so that I can take off a week in each season. It is neccessary for my mental health.


November 18th, 2011
11:50 am

Yes, healthcare companies are charging higher rates to supplement the additional workers “Obamacare” required them to hire (paperwork etc). You will also notice that plans previously exempt from deductibles are now requiring them. Generally, the middle class worker that “used to have” adequate benefits to survive is now paying more so that the poor populations can receive free health care.


November 18th, 2011
11:53 am

I was 36 years old when I made the best decision of my life and left the greed of corporate America for the comfort of self-employment.

Always Skeptical

November 18th, 2011
11:55 am

Americans have this illusion of freedom…It’s a myth…plain and simple. We just take this crap over and over…the oligarchs pay the lobbyists, politicians, ad agencies and buy commercial air time on TV and we continue to fall for it. We blame trade unions,made up of our fellow regular working citizens, for our “downfall”(Germany, France, and Korea all seem to be doing just fine with strong unions) and applaud the oligarchs for building vacation mansions on private islands saying that they “worked” hard for what they have…failing to recognize that they have it “all” because they have been stealing everything in sight little by little…including your earned vacation, retirement benefits, healthcare benefits. They’ll get you to agree to retire at 80 and take no vacation as long as they continue to fool you into believing that if you give it all up for them…you might one day be like them. I’m glad I work for myself…I’m praying for all of you that are having to put up with this garbage.

Uncle Boris

November 18th, 2011
12:16 pm

My vacation time is part of my contractual compensation package, and I’ve never left a single day of it on the table. I work my butt off for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. That’s what I get paid for, and that’s what I do. If someone with their finger on the button doesn’t like this arangement, I can’t stop them from pressing that button. I don’t worry about it, and I’m not changing a thing.


November 18th, 2011
12:19 pm

My company provides me with 5 weeks of personal time (vacation and sick days) each year. My immediate supervisor always tells people they need to take their time off. However, the VP of my department always finds a way to punish you if you take time off. Typically he will throw a lot of low level meaningless work at you when you come back knowing that after vacation you probably have a large amount of work to catch up on, and this will just put added pressure on you to “teach you a lesson” about taking time off. He’s also the guy who says “we don’t have a team, we have a department.” Which basically says he’s in charge and if you don’t like it…then leave. A while back we had a “department” function and the VP asked me to carpool with him. So I assumed he would come and get me when it was time to go, instead he decided to ride with someone else and not tell me, leaving me behind. I was mad as hell and told him so the next day, he basically ignored me and then two hours later gave me a bunch of meaningless work to do as revenge for confronting him. All I can say is that employers who display this type of attitude towards hard working employees are going to get the short end of the stick when the economy does turn around. Good employees who have been treated badly, will almost certainly jump ship when the opportunity presents itself. The problem with corporate America is that most companies have short memories and they use the economy as a weapon to justify treating people in anyway they want. But be sure that employees do NOT have short memories and they will look for a better situation as soon as possible. It just kills me that there is no such thing as loyalty any more. I have worked for two companies for the last 21 years and faithfully come to work each day and do everything that is asked of me, plus some. Prior to the economy turning sour, I felt appreciated. Now I feel like if I’m gone to the bathroom for more than 5 minutes, my job is on the line. It’s absolutely crazy.


November 18th, 2011
12:30 pm

Mike, you’re right. There is no such thing as loyalty anymore unless it’s the company expecting loyalty from the employee.Of course, they are unwilling to show loyalty to the employee themselves.


November 18th, 2011
1:24 pm

I would not work very long at a company that punished you for using time off. I can completely understand needing to schedule longer blocks of time off far in advance but being scared to use all of your PTO is a strong signal that you need to be working elsewhere.

Manager on Vacay!

November 18th, 2011
1:24 pm

My company is small, but growing and currently offers 17 paid days per year. It doesn’t roll over or payout any unused days. Most people will use their time off (a day or two here and there) through out the year and many are smart enough to use those days around three day weekends, to strecth out the number of days they’ll be out of the office, without using up their days too quickly. Then I have the people who hold on to their days for most of the year and then want to all be out of the office and take a chance to having their requests denied, because so many people are trying to take off around the holidays. I even have one person who, at this point in the year, still has not taken one day off. I’ve talked to her, HR has talked to her…she not afraid to take off – she’s just afraid she is going to miss something.

larry tate

November 18th, 2011
1:38 pm

Vaction to me is a big nusiance – I have to worry about my job and if it will get done when I am off ( and only 1 day at a time ) and then when others take off I have to do their work and mine


November 18th, 2011
2:19 pm

Vacation is an earned benefit and agreement from the worker and the organization. If organizations do not want their workers taking vacation time, then remove them from the contractual agreement. The way I look at it, ‘earn it, burn it!’ That is my time earned and compensation earned for working.

Clayton resident

November 18th, 2011
2:37 pm

Wow, reading through this makes me appreciate my job even more. Is it perfect? Absolutely not, what job is. But they don’t have a problem with employees taking their days unless they abuse it (i.e. taking more days than allotted). Hopefully they won’t make me regret saying this today lol. I usually try to carry a few days over every year regardless.

But I must say, my hubby has been working temporary jobs on/off since he got laid off a few years back, and I’m sure like many long term unemployed workers, he’d LOVE to have the problem of worrying about whether or not to take vacation days. All of us holding down jobs should be counting our blessings. Happy Thanksgiving all!


November 19th, 2011
6:04 am

10 paid vacation days, 4 paid sick days/yr here, ~60 employees. $250/mo matched healthcare ($500/mo total) + $500mo/every extra person, no pension, 401K is available. I just like to see and compare the compensations available today in America, now show me yours :)