Only about a quarter (27 per cent) of U.S. employees used all of their allotted paid vacation time in 2021, according to a new survey by software company Qualtrics.
The survey, which polled 1,000 employees, found 26 per cent of respondents had an average of 9.5 days of unused vacation time at the end of 2021. Among employees who didn’t take all of their vacation time, the most commonly cited reasons were fear of falling behind on work, fear of letting down their team and pressure from co-workers.
When employees do take vacation time, 49 per cent said they still work at least an hour per day and 24 per cent said they work three hours or more on each day of their vacation. Nearly a third (31 per cent) said they’re expected to answer phone calls or texts, while 27 per cent are expected to respond to emails and 20 per cent are expected to be online while on vacation.
Without the ability to really unplug, about a quarter (27 per cent) of respondents said they don’t feel rejuvenated after taking time off, which could be contributing to employee burnout, noted the survey. More than half (58 per cent) said their job is the main source of their mental-health challenges.
The survey also found 45 per cent of U.S. employees receive two weeks or less of paid vacation time each year, while nearly nine per cent don’t get any vacation time. A third (32 per cent) said their unused vacation days don’t roll over to the next year and 28 per cent said they don’t get paid for unused vacation time. More than half (51 per cent) said additional vacation time would influence them to stay longer with their employer.