Rachel Sanoff
Updated November 27, 2019
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Do you allow yourself to take time off from work? Are you even familiar with your job’s vacation policy? We all have to work so hard in order to survive during this period of skyrocketing rent prices, costly heath insurance plans, unforgiving student loan debt, etc. But if Americans are working so hard, why, as a workforce, do we not use hundreds of millions of our vacation days, as reported by Mic?

Well, Project Time Off, a trade group based in the travel industry, set out to understand why American employees don’t take time off — even when they are allowed. Is it our Puritanical work ethic?

Actually, as their study findings suggest, workers don’t use their vacation days because their bosses either explicitly or implicitly convince them that taking time off would be detrimental to their job security.

As reported by Mic, 68 percent of surveyed American employees told researchers that their managers’ behavior convinced them that asking to use their vacation days would be a bad move. What constitutes that kind of behavior? Researchers say it includes a manager never mentioning vacation time, or displaying, “negative or mixed messages about taking vacation.”

As Katie Denis, Project Time Off senior director, told Mic, when managers don’t take their own vacation days, it influences employees to believe they shouldn’t take time off either. Secondly, many employees fear that vacationing will result in their position being filled by another candidate, or removed altogether.

Obviously, constantly working without recharging results in mental health/stress issues and physical health issues. But, as a previous Project Time Off study noted, when workers don’t take a vacation, it harms our economy.

So let this be a reminder that you deserve to utilize your vacation days — and you have a right to take time off. Not only because it is legally provided to you, but because your body, mind, (and our economy) deserves it.