The real cost of not using your vacation days

We have a problem.
We have a problem.

In a country where a strong work ethic is highly regarded, it makes sense that most employees in the US don't cash in on all of their earned vacation days.

But what most don't know is that neglecting to take full advantage of their leisure time is actually costing their employees and the economy big time.

1982 and 2010 were the two years with the highest reported numbers of unemployment, and the average number of vacation days taken per year were 20.9 and 17.6 respectively.

But in 2015, which had nearly a 4 percent decrease in the number of unemployed Americans, the average number of vacation days taken during the year was only 16.2.

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In total, Americans racked up 658 million unused vacation days, with 222 million of those days being completely lost (as in they can't roll over or provide any sort of benefit).

So what does this mean financially?

Ironically, by choosing not to indulge in their much-needed time off, Americans are essentially working free, unpaid days.

SEE ALSO: 6 biggest vacation expenses and how to get them for less

Translation: Last year, Americans cost employers $61.4B in forfeited benefits by actively choosing to not take advantage of their time off.

These unused days also account for a loss of billions of dollars of potential for the US economy ($223 billion to be exact).

And not only are those unused days off costing employers, but they're costing individual employees as well.

The study found:

"Employees who take 10 or less days of vacation time are less likely to have received a raise or bonus in the last three years than those who took 11 days or more."

Long story short: step away from your desk and go book that flight!

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