Workers leaving vacation time behind

Are you in this boat?

You get two weeks of paid vacation and you still have a few days left to take by the end of the year, but you probably won’t get to use them.

Those days you leave behind will be among 226 million unused vacation days – or $34.3 billion worth of time – American workers will forfeit this year, according to a CNN Money report.

Expedia found that on average American workers leave about 2 days of unused paid vacation behind, the same number of vacation days they gave up last year. Earlier this month, Hotwire found that U.S. workers leave even more days, 6.2, of unused vacation.

Most say they can’t afford to travel so why take the time? Others don’t take the time because they haven’t planned for it, Expedia’s survey found.

There is also the fear losing a job. “People feel that they need face time in the office,” Stuart Rubinstein, managing director at TD Ameritrade, told CNN. “They worry that being out of the office might make them next on the list.”

Are you leaving valuable paid vacation time on the table?

Christopher Seward

68 comments Add your comment

Sonny LIED!

November 30th, 2011
1:21 pm

Tina

November 30th, 2011
1:24 pm

Take your time off. It makes you a better (rested, clear thinking) employee and better (relaxed) individual. Trust me, if you die today, your company will find your replacement before your body gets cold. Just saying..

cmr

November 30th, 2011
1:24 pm

Nope, I have never left any unused vacation days…I work too hard to not reward myself with the time off, even if I don’t end up going away. Wonder if there is a way for the people who don’t/won’t take vacation days to pass them along to those of us that will?

Soueh

November 30th, 2011
1:25 pm

When I left my last job I had 68 hours. I gave away 60 hours sick time and was paid for the rest. Only because I was laid-off did I receive compensation because of their policy.

Michael

November 30th, 2011
1:34 pm

Vacation? Is that some foreign word? Never heard of it.

Rodney

November 30th, 2011
1:41 pm

Many companies will allow you to carry over a day or two. If you don’t use your vacation time each year, you have nobody to blame but yourself. It is your hard earned time so you should use it regardless if you go on some great vacation or not.

Crazy Robert

November 30th, 2011
1:46 pm

Glad the company I work for lets us carry them over each year. I have a little more than 12 weeks built and look at it as a lay-off hedge. Thanks Southern CO!!!

Peepeye

November 30th, 2011
1:46 pm

Take your vacation because no one is indispensable.

All of us know that your job will use you up, wear you down and throw you out.

When decisions are made about job cuts and outsourcing, none of the reasons have to do with you having great attendance, being positive, flexible, a team player or highly skilled.

It all boils down to how much money can they save by cutting jobs or outsourcing. That’s all!

mechelle

November 30th, 2011
1:49 pm

Tina, a girl that sat across from me died. She was replaced in two weeks. There is someone new doing her job right now…Take your vacation time people please.

Peepeye

November 30th, 2011
1:52 pm

I have known co-workers who have died and their job duties are given to someone else by the end of the day.

Sam the Sham

November 30th, 2011
1:54 pm

Peepeye

November 30th, 2011
1:55 pm

Who to keep and who to fire or lay off mostly comes down to this: Can your company hire better, cheaper, faster and more innovative than you?

If you have a great personality and skills, it might give you an edge………otherwise not. It’s pretty much about cost savings.

Each worker needs to adopt the “CEO’s Creed.” The creed is “You take care of yourself, first, last and always.”

Mahopinion

November 30th, 2011
1:56 pm

It happens to me every year because our management won’t approve the time off requests.

Tyrone Biggums

November 30th, 2011
2:00 pm

Hell no. I’m fortunate enough to get 4 weeks a year and I definitely use up all the days. I enjoy traveling so I use vacation days for that.

Chris

November 30th, 2011
2:05 pm

Because I accepted a promotion at work in Sept, which meant many more duties, no time to take vacation the rest of the year. So I’m losing almost 3 weeks!

Elan

November 30th, 2011
2:05 pm

My employer will pay employees for any PTO that reaches a certain point, even if the employee leaves the company by choice or force. :-) In addition to this, several times a year, we are offered the opportunity to cash down our PTO balances, provided that you leave 80 hours in the bank. We do however; we do forfeit any unused sick/extended illness time.

JS

November 30th, 2011
2:05 pm

agreed… management waits until the day before to approve requests so you cant ever make any plans…or your “on call” 24/7…especially on your “days off” with dumba$$es calling constantly asking questions. or the company decides to do away with holidays and taking time off is “frowned upon” or not approved. lost vacation time all the time at my last job in the crappy satellite & cable broadcasting industry (you know who you are). work you to death ’til you quit, recycle you for the new sap that will work for dirt cheap. glad i quit…best decision ever. now every day is a vacation.

chuckie doll

November 30th, 2011
2:11 pm

I have been in that situation with a few days left over towards the end, usually just take off after Christmas to New Years, just relax and wait for the new year or possibly go somewhere warm!

sherri

November 30th, 2011
2:13 pm

I can’t believe people done use their vacations. I had exactly four hours left this year

Frankie58

November 30th, 2011
2:14 pm

Sorry Tina, your theory of “better rested and clear tinker” doesn’t work…just look at Congress, they were “off” for TWO weeks and now they have returned and…no better thinkers, maybe rested, but no sharper than a brick…..

Bacchus

November 30th, 2011
2:22 pm

Use it or lose it has been my policy.

Though I feel that some organizations come down hard on their employees who want to take a week or *gasp* a week and a half or even 2 weeks off for a vacation.

Sometimes I question our American tradition of 10 paid days off a year. Just because you work more hours in 12 months does not mean that time spent at work is well spent and that you work harder. I think employees can be strongly motivated to work harder and accomplish even more if they have a couple 2 week vactions per year to look forward to, rather than just a handful of long weekends and maybe a 5 day trip to the beach.

Rick

November 30th, 2011
2:23 pm

But Frankie58, look at it this way. When Congress is on vacation they can’t screw anything or anybody(us) else up. When I was still working,I used to request the next years vacation when the current allotment ran out.

Speedygurl

November 30th, 2011
2:33 pm

You MUST be an idiot!

Ash

November 30th, 2011
2:34 pm

Not using your vacations, does not have any affect when it comes to Layoff’s etc. Even if you dont have plans for vacations, just playing with kids or reading a book is good enough to take time off. If your company has a “use it, or lose it” policy, I would highly recommend to take all your vacation time, the company is not doing us a favor, we earn it. Happy Holidays

What ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

November 30th, 2011
2:42 pm

Work 40 hours of overtime to get ready for vacation and another 40 hours of overtime when I get back to clean up from when I was on vacation. Its just not worth it. Im to exausted getting ready and getting back to have any fun. I would sleep though it.

RenaP

November 30th, 2011
3:00 pm

Our company even rewards us with extra vacation days for “jobs well done” – but then with all the layoffs each person is doing the job of 4 people – so not only can we not take our regular vacation – we can use the bonus days either.

Corp america – gotta love it!

Furious Styles

November 30th, 2011
3:05 pm

If your job makes you fear vacation time, then you need to find a new place to work where that culture doesn’t exist. If the job market ever improves, I hope those that need a change can find it.

Employers need to get it in the empty skulls that if you treat the employee good, there’s better productivity and the company in-turn does good.

GeoffDawg

November 30th, 2011
3:09 pm

I think one important distinction to make here would be if it’s accrued time or a gift of time. Vacation time gifts typically expire at the end of the year and workers will be loathe to let those go to waist even if they’re just sitting around at home. Unused accrued vacation will generally roll to the next year which could account for the left over days. I’ll personally have about a week of accrued time left for 2011 but I’m not particularly worried because I’ll get to it eventually. If I happen to be laid off, then they’ll compensate me for it.

DarkBrown

November 30th, 2011
3:09 pm

We are allowed to carry vacation here up to an amount equal to two times our annual number of days accrued.

I am at a point where I accrue three weeks of vacation per year. I am always careful to keep at least a week in the whole because you never know when ya’ need some mental health days.

GeoffDawg

November 30th, 2011
3:13 pm

Correction – waste, not waist. Wasn’t implying that vacations are high in calories.

Crazy Robert

November 30th, 2011
3:32 pm

I can only think of one possible good reason companies don’t allow employees to carry their time over, year to year …

Mike Francis

November 30th, 2011
3:35 pm

I cant take any vacation time. I am stuck doing weather!! Watch me on 11 Alive!!!

wft

November 30th, 2011
3:36 pm

Sam the Sham! Are you the Sam of Big Blue fame?

wrestler

November 30th, 2011
3:39 pm

Michael and Mahopinion….do or did you guys ever work for IKON? heard what you are saying way to often in that company……

instead

November 30th, 2011
3:42 pm

Dropped a dime there huh wrestler, I guess they do that deal where they won’t let you take it but at the end of the year management gets on your case becuase you have too much vacation on the books??

wrestler

November 30th, 2011
3:44 pm

Instead…that is correct sir….or maam..

the guy

November 30th, 2011
3:45 pm

Unfortunately in sales, vacation=lost pay.

Jimbo

November 30th, 2011
3:50 pm

Not everyone enjoys long vacations, I don’t. Three or four days off and I’m bored and ready to go back to work. I have traveled all through Europe, Asia, and South America and have yet to find a place that I would want to go back to for more than three of four days.I have six weeks of vacation each year and I usually leave three or four weeks of vacation unused every year. I just don’t want it, I wish that I could give it to someone else but that isn’t allowed.

I'm owned

November 30th, 2011
3:51 pm

Apparently as my boss will gladly approve time off and then find things for you to do on your vacation…..

Ready to Jump

November 30th, 2011
4:02 pm

Our co. only gives salaried employees 10 vacation days, 1 personal day, and no sick time…By the time I take time off to meet the furnace guy, take the dog to the vet, etc., I end up having about 5 days left to take as vacation throughout the year. Personnel have to work here 8 years to get another week of vacation. We also don’t get all the holidays off that other companies allow. I feel burned out most of the time and end up wasting time at work…I actually am more productive when I have more time off, but I don’t think they care. Their philosophy revolves around see a warm body in the office…We have not been profitable since I started here 5 years ago.

Retired Fed

November 30th, 2011
4:08 pm

When I retired from the federal government, I cashed in 60 days of unused leave in exchange for a little over $20,000, a nice going away gift!

Curious

November 30th, 2011
4:13 pm

Crazy Robert, I don’t know which “Southern CO” you work for, but the one I know only allows you to carry 2 weeks or 80 hours. Please explain how you get to 12 weeks. Are you talking about sick time?

MIKE

November 30th, 2011
4:18 pm

SO TRUE, MY EMPLOYER PUTS SO MANY RESTRICTIONS ON TIME OFF , LIKE NOT BEFORE JUNE AND NONE DURING DECEMBER. THEN OUR OFFICE IS SO SMALL , WHEN YOUR OFF YOUR WORK JUST SITS AND IT TAKES A MONTH TO CATCH BACK UP. ALMOST NOT WORTH IT .

Laurie

November 30th, 2011
4:23 pm

Since I can’t accrue my vacation into a fat “end of employment” paycheck, or carry it over to next year, I use all my vacation. Workers don’t realize that if employers notice workers aren’t taking their vacation, the time is likely to get reduced. And for those particularly annoying companies, I’ll use all my alloted sick time too. Don’t live to work, work to live.

NorthGaDan

November 30th, 2011
4:25 pm

When the only “benefit” you get at your job is vacation, you take it! And I take all three weeks of mine every year!!

Jim in Buckhead

November 30th, 2011
4:32 pm

leave some every year…. dont understand people that use it all dump work on your co-workers

GeeGee

November 30th, 2011
4:43 pm

I take all of mine. I might leave an hour or two of sick time but only because we can carry that over. I start fresh every year. Happy Holidays.

Roberto

November 30th, 2011
4:44 pm

Jim in Buckhead=Lumbard

ed

November 30th, 2011
4:47 pm

not using vaca and then losing it for that year is just dumb. if i were your employer i would question your brain!

A B Normal

November 30th, 2011
5:00 pm

Another retiree here . . . cashed in 835 hours of unused leave when I left. About $25k before taxes. Suh-WEET!!!