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Paid Time off: Employees' Happiness and Their Utilization

PTO acronym with business people

1.5 minute read

A recent Harris Poll survey found that most employed Americans are satisfied with their company's paid time off (PTO) policy, but 3 in 4 didn't use the maximum allowed days. On average, U.S. workers receive 11-30 PTO days per year, yet most only took 15 paid days off last year. The top reasons for using PTO were vacation and health-related reasons.


Key Survey Findings

Here are some key findings from the survey:

  • 83% of Americans are satisfied with their company’s PTO policy
    • 60% are given more than 10 PTO days annually
    • 7% have an “unlimited vacation policy”. Thirty-two percent of American workers indicate that “unlimited vacation policy” means more than 30 days off.
  • 78% don’t use their maximum PTO allowed by their employer. The average worker took 15 paid days off last year despite 49% being allowed to take off more.
  • The main barriers to workers taking more time off are the "pressure to always be available and responsive to demands" (31%) and "heavy workload" (30%).

Despite taking time off, 60% of workers struggle to disconnect from work, with 86% checking emails and 56% taking work-related calls. Many feel guilty about taking time off, especially Millennials and Generation Z who fear employer reactions and career implications. Some millennials admitted to using workarounds like moving their mouse to appear active or taking time off without informing their manager.


Employer Takeaway

Despite more employers expanding their PTO policies, workplace culture and workload pressures influence working American's benefit usage. To combat burnout, employers should foster a company culture that encourages taking PTO. Workers struggle to balance work and personal time, so building a supportive culture is key. Employers should continue to monitor trends to make informed decisions on employee benefits. Download the bulletin for more details.

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National Insurance Services is not a law firm and no opinion, suggestion, or recommendation of the firm or its employees shall constitute legal advice. Readers are advised to consult with their own attorney for a determination of their legal rights, responsibilities and liabilities, including the interpretation of any statute or regulation, or its application to the readers’ business activities.

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Bill Disch

Bill Disch

Since he was young, Bill Disch has possessed a strong sense of service – from delivering milk and newspapers, to serving in the Air Force. His integrity and strong desire aid in his want to make a difference in whatever he’s doing. Bill is known for his strong analytical capabilities and smart business sense. He enjoys coming up with creative solutions to complex problems by working together with all involved and leveraging his clients’ knowledge and talent. Bill has a background as a CPA and as an Assistant Business Superintendent for a Michigan K-12 school. He worked with National Insurance Services (NIS) for over 17 years in his previous employment and is happy to join the NIS service team. Bill will be working as a Senior Account Representative in Indiana, as well as growing life and disability in Market Development in Michigan. He is a licensed insurance agent.