Unused PTO Has Doubled Since 2019, Even as More Companies Offer It

Depending on your industry, having paid time off doesn't mean you're using it.

What's your job's paid time off policy? It’s probably not great, if you are living in the United States. We stand at the bottom of most PTO and vacation-related global rankings. But, according to a recent study by Sorbet, a company that helps businesses manage PTO, reveals that even Americans who get PTO aren't really using it.

An average of 55% of PTO went unused in 2022, compared to just 28% in 2019 before the pandemic began. Men, in general, tend to take about 10% more of their allotted PTO days, compared to women. Women are more likely to use sick days however. Compared to high-income workers, lower-income workers with allotted PTO take 52% less.

In terms of age, workers aged 55 and older use 51% more of their allotted PTO than workers in the 21 to 34 age group. The younger workers also have fewer PTO days.

"Paid time off is one of the most underutilized assets employers have at their disposal in the battle to attract and retain talent," says Veetahl Eilat-Raichel, CEO and co-founder of Sorbet, in a statement shared with Thrillist. "In a post-COVID world, employees clearly feel less legitimized and incentivized to take time off which causes a breathtaking loss of value to both employers and employees. Value which should be harnessed towards both the companies' and the employees' financial wellbeing."

About 31% of respondents to Sorbet's survey reported that they didn't feel comfortable asking for time off while working from home. Which I can understand, because some employers have a hard time keeping boundaries between work and home life when the physical barrier of the office isn't there.

But here's a friendly reminder from me: take your time off. If you don't, you're essentially forfeiting that money and working for less. Take the time, even if all you do on your day off is nap and catch up on your favorite television shows.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.