What Workers Would Trade for More Vacation Time

Life is a Beach

American workers want more vacation time and are willing to give up a lot to get it, according to new research.

A study by vacation club Inspirato found that half of all workers in the nation's top 10 largest cities are willing to sacrifice workplace benefits in exchange for more paid time off.

Specifically, more than one-tenth of all employees who receive vacation time from their employer would prefer more time off over a higher salary or a promotion, while one-sixth of those surveyed would forgo a compensation bonus in exchange for more days off.

In addition, 10 percent of those surveyed would decline their company’s 401(k) match in return for more vacation time and a quarter would give up a chance at a private office for more days off.

The one thing employees aren't willing to sacrifice is their current salary. The study found that just 5 percent are willing to take a pay cut for more time away from the office.

"It’s encouraging to see that people recognize how vital it is to consider time away from work as essential – and even more critical than many of the valuable benefits that employees enjoy," said Brent Handler, founder and CEO of Inspirato.

Overall, the study shows the average employee in the 10 largest cities — Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. – receive 19 paid vacations days a year.

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Even though they desire for more time off, the research revealed many workers aren't using the vacation days they already have. Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed do not use all the vacation time they receive, with employees in Los Angeles and San Francisco leaving the most, about a third, vacation time behind. Despite that, 47 percent of L.A. workers and 43 percent of their San Francisco peers are willing to give up a workplace benefit for more paid time off.

The survey shows that Washington, D.C., employees are the most vacation-hungry, with 58 percent willing to give up a workplace benefit in exchange for more time off. At the other end of the spectrum, less than 40 percent of workers in Boston would forgo anything for more vacation time.

"What’s interesting about this data is to see such different attitudes toward vacations – particularly among the four mega cities on the East Coast – Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.," said Regina Corso, senior vice president of Harris Poll and Public Relations for Harris Interactive. "Boston and Philadelphia are less likely to leave any vacation days on the table at the end of a year, while over half of New Yorkers and two-thirds of those in Washington, D.C. do leave some vacation time unused."

The study was based on surveys of 2,534 adults in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

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