Taking time off from the daily work grind gives us time for rest, relaxation and recharging, however many Americans leave unused PTO on the table every year.
Potawatomi Hotel & Casino recently surveyed 2,000 full-time workers across the country to get a better understanding of their PTO habits and how they’ve spent their PTO in 2020. They wanted to see how PTO has changed from this year to last year and to see if people are using more or less PTO. Let’s take a deep dive into what they found.
American’s habits with PTO
For many people, taking PTO has looked a lot differently this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the stay at home orders and social distancing, many people are traveling less. Also, many American’s have been furloughed or laid off from their jobs meaning that they lost their access to their PTO.
The survey from Potawatomi Hotel & Casino found that 39% of Americans took more time off this year, 38% took less time off and 23% took about the same time off when compared to last year. Many people reported their PTO days piling up this year because they could not use their PTO days in ways they normally would.
When looking at generational breakdowns, Baby Boomers took more PTO days than other generations from the survey. Let’ take a deeper look at some of the generational breakdowns for PTO.
Average PTO days taken in 2020
Gen Z – 5.5
Millennials – 9.2
Gen X – 9.5
Baby Boomers – 10.8
Males – 9.1
As you can see the average days of PTO is pretty consistent across the board. One of the more interesting takeaways from the survey is that 47% of surveyed respondents said they had gone an entire full calendar year without taking any PTO. The next part of the survey looked at what is preventing Americans from taking the PTO that they’ve earned from their company.
What prevents Americans from Taking PTO
Listed below are the top reasons why American’s aren’t currently using their PTO in 2020:
1. My workload is too much (41%)
2. I have no one to cover for me (38%)
3. I look less committed to my job if I take time off (28%)
4. I don’t want to travel during COVID-19 (28%)
5. It cost’s too much too much to travel (26%)
6. There are logistical hassles of traveling (17%)
7. I have a child or children (14%)
8. It’s hard being away from my routine (12%)
9. I have pet or pets (11%)
Another reason why many American’s pass on taking their paid time off is because they feel guilty when they put in a request for paid time off. Whether it’s from a boss or manager, or a nosy colleague, many Americans feel a sense of guilt when they request time off from their job. The survey found that 29% of Americans say they feel guilty when taking paid time off. Another 20% said that they sometimes feel guilty when taking paid time off. 51% of surveyed respondents said they feel no guilt when taking time off from their job.
Who feel’s guilty taking PTO?
Listed below are the demographic breakdown of who feels the most guilt when they take time off from their job:
1. Gen Z (22%)
2. Millennials (27%)
3. Gen X (32%)
4. Baby Boomers (33%)
5. Males (28%)
6. Females (30%)
Why do American’s feel so guilty about taking PTO?
There are many reasons why American workers feel guilty about taking home. Some worry about falling behind on their workload while other’s think that they will become replaceable if they take too much time off. Listed below are the top reasons why American’s feel so guilty taking time off.
1. I’m worried that I will fall behind on my work (43%)
2. Taking time off shows poor work ethic (40%)
3. My boss or manager will judge me if I take time off (34%)
4. Another colleague will work harder than me when I’m off (28%)
5. My coworkers will judge me if I take time off (28%)
6. I’ll be viewed as replaceable by management (21%)
7. I’ll be overlooked in the future for a raise or promotion (20%)
8. My colleagues will have to work harder when I’m off work (17%)
As you can see my full time workers are worried that there will be resentment form management or colleagues if they take time off from work. 53% of surveyed respondents said that they must give a specific reason for their PTO request. 44% say they are fearful to post about a vacation they took out of concern that their colleagues will see it. 31% say they get jealous when another coworker takes PTO. 48% say they feel certain coworkers get more PTO requested than others because they think that management plays favorites.
PTO and COVID-19
2020 has been a strange year for taking PTO. Many employees are letting their PTO build up out of fear that they make become expendable at their job if they do. The survey showed that 38% of Americans have been more hesitant to request PTO during the pandemic. There is an interesting split on whether or not employers have added, or decreased PTO days allowed during the pandemic. 40% of Americans say that their employer has added more PTO day during the pandemic to allow for extra time off. 34% say their employer has decreased the amount of PTO days allowed during the pandemic.
41% of surveyed respondents said they have taken PTO to get a COVID-19 test while another 59% have simply taken a PTO day for a mental health break. 50% of employers have been more flexible than usual with PTO requests. Another 48% say they have been more lenient granting PTO requests to parents because of kids not being in school during the pandemic.
For those that have taken PTO this year, many find themselves unable to completely detach from work on their days off. 76% report checking their work email while on PTO and another 53% say they admit to thinking about work while on PTO.
Infographic by: paysbig