No rest for the weary

The U.S. workforce is taking fewer vacation days, and that comes with a price

How was your summer vacation? Did you book a winter or spring break trip yet? If you don’t plan to take advantage of the vacation time you have earned, you are in the majority.

A study sponsored by the U.S. Travel Association discovered during 2018, 55% of U.S. workers failed to use all their paid time off, which translates to 768 million days of personal time off nationally—an increase of 9% from 2017.

As of March 2018, about 94% of full-time workers had access to personal time off (which includes personal leave, vacation days and/or holidays), according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The U.S. Travel Association study showed employees earned, on average, 23.9 days of personal time off in 2018. Generationally, 35% of Baby Boomers and 31% of Generation X workers took 10-19 days off from work during 2018. Only 21% of Millennial employees took more than 10 days off.

The states with the biggest percentage of employees taking paid time off were Colorado, Virginia and Arizona. The states with the smallest percentage were Montana, Delaware and Rhode Island.

All this unused time off comes at a price—economically and emotionally.

The unused days cost the U.S. economy about $255 billion in 2017, and U.S. workers using that vacation time could have generated 1.9 million jobs, the group said. The study also found those who used a majority of their vacation days are significantly happier than those who did not. In addition, they show greater success and enjoyment in their careers.

NRCA—and I suspect the roofing industry at large—is not immune to this. In fact, I currently have 63 days of vacation I have not used. Many of my colleagues have more. It’s time we heeded the words of Gautam Singhania, managing director of Raymond Group, Mumbai: “The breaks you take from work pay you back manifold when you return because you come back with a fresher mind and newer thinking. Some of your best ideas come when you’re on vacation.”

Ambika Puniani Reid is editor of Professional Roofing and NRCA's vice president of communications and production.


Be the first to comment. Please log in to leave a comment.