It’s official: Americans are workaholics.
The proof: In 2013, we took the lowest amount of vacation days in 40 years, according to the study “All Work and No Pay: The Impact of Forfeited Time Off,’’ conducted by Oxford Economics for the U.S. Travel Association’s Travel Effect Initiative.
Last year, Americans took an average of 16 days of vacation, compared to 20.3 days in 2000. What’s worse, we’re working for free. That’s because last year, Americans turned down $52.4 billion in benefits—that’s 169 million days of paid time off.
Are you one of the vacation slackers? You’re giving up “$504 in paid time off—essentially giving [your] employers that amount in free work,’’ according to the study.
There are a few reasons that Americans aren’t dropping briefcases and boarding flights en masse. For one, we’re work martyrs—we think no one else can do our jobs. We also worry about the way work accumulates in our absence, as well as job security in today’s competitive market.
But forfeiting Bermuda for board meetings won’t do you any good, says Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. The employees refusing their vacation days aren’t achieving bonuses or raises at a faster rate than those lounging poolside and sipping margaritas, says the research.
“America’s work martyrs aren’t more successful. We need to change our thinking. All work and no play is not going to get you ahead – it’s only going to get you more stress,’’ said Dow.
Perhaps it’s time to book a trip.