Unused Vacation Days Bad for Workers and Businesses

Life is a Beach

Though many employees shy away from taking days off for fear of falling behind, employers should push their staff to use their vacation time, as it benefits both employees and the company, new research shows.

A study by the Society for Human Resource Management finds that the vast majority of HR professionals believe employees' wellness, morale, performance and productivity are all improved when they take their paid vacation time.

Specifically, nearly three-quarters of those surveyed think employees who started taking more vacation time would experience higher levels of job satisfaction, and 72 percent said employees would be more productive. Additionally, 69 percent of respondents said they believe employees would perform better, and 67 percent said employees would be more engaged if they took more time off.

"It is important for managers and company leaders to see the value in employees taking a vacation," said Lisa Orndorff, manager of employee relations and engagement at the Society for Human Resource Management. "They should also encourage their people to use their leave, 'unplug' if possible and take a break from the work, even if it's just a day or two every few months."

Despite the benefits that come from taking time off, 61 percent of the organizations surveyed report that employees have an average of three or more unused vacation days each year.

"We found that features of employers' vacation plans and the ability to roll over time off determined whether employees took all their vacation time," said Evren Esen, manager of the Society for Human Resource Management's Survey Research Center. "Many employees seem to want to reserve vacation time, saving it for the next year, if they are able to roll over time from year to year."

The research shows that employees are more likely to use all of their earned vacation time when their company doesn't offer a rollover option. More than three-quarters of organizations that do not offer rollover plans report that between 80 and 100 percent of employees use all of their vacation days each year, while just 31 percent of organizations that allow employees to carry over vacation days to the next year report the same.

Overall, more than 60 percent of employers allow vacation days to be rolled over to the next year.

The study was based on surveys of 481 human resources professionals.

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.