Americans Are Costing Themselves Billions Working Too Hard
By Aaron Taube
Not taking time off from work isn't just making you more stressed - it's costing you money.
That's because employees who don't use all of their paid time off are essentially working for free during the extra days, a new study says.
The study, paid for by the US Travel Association and conducted by Oxford Economics, finds that American workers lost a staggering $52.4 billion due to unused vacation time in 2013.
That's an average of $504 per worker, all because people are worried what will happen if they take time off.
"Americans are taking the value of their time for granted," Adam Sacks, founder and president of Oxford Economics' Tourism Economics division, says in a statement.
The study says that Americans, known as some of the hardest workers in the western world, are taking even fewer vacation days now than they were in the past.
Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and a survey of 1,303 American workers done by GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications, Oxford Economics finds that US employees took an average of 16 vacation days in 2013, down from an average of 20.3 days between 1976 and 2000.
Oxford Economics also included this chart, which shows how Americans have started to take fewer vacation days over the past 20 years (note that the bottom of this chart is 14 vacation days and not zero):
The study found that if workers were to go back to taking 20 vacation days a year, they would add $284 billion to the US economy, including $118 billion in direct travel spending and another $166 billion spent in other places like restaurants and retail shops.