Paid time off, as most people can agree, is essential to take in order to keep mentally and physically fit as you grind your way through the work year. For most office workers, Friday afternoon is seen as a saviour and much needed break from documents and deadlines, but for an alarming amount of people, a weekend break is all they feel is acceptable to take.
According to a recent survey by job search website, Monster, 9% of those polled didn’t feel like that they would take either some or even any vacation days, and that’s not the first time this issue has arisen.
“Not only is it already earned and money they’re leaving on the table, there may be a deeper underlying reason,” says Monster Career Expert, Vicki Salemi. Whether it comes down to an employee refusing paid time off because they simply believe no one else can do their job while they’re away, or even that an absence will create a heavy burden on their colleagues, it’s impossible to say.
According to Salemi, it might even be a fear of not having a job when they get back from holiday, or that taking PTO somehow means that they’re not working hard enough. “Do they feel threatened someone will sabotage them while they’re away? Are they afraid they’ll be fired so they don’t take time off and don’t even take weekends off?”
It’s not all so bad, however. Applying for paid leave is becoming far simpler due to the use of sophisticated absence management systems, and many companies are making it a priority to remind employees to take PTO. Most employees see the benefits of taking paid leave to enjoy life outside of the workplace, as well as coming back feeling fresh and rejuvenated. 34% of those polled would use the vacation days on summer holidays, while 11 percent prefer to save these days for winter/Christmas holidays.
What’s also interesting to come out of the Monster report is that 29 percent of respondents like to use their PTO as a “staycation” and choose arbitrary days off from work to simply have a break. 18 percent of those polled said that they use their paid holidays often as mental health days, in order to help reduce stress and prevent burnout. These are often called “sick and tired days” and many modern workplaces are even providing several of these a year outside of the regular PTO.
“It’s wonderful that these mental health days are being offered and acknowledged, and that job seekers are using them,” says Salemi. “Especially if an employee has a toxic job, boss or workplace, this is critical — and remember to use those days also for interviewing for a better job. Above all, no matter how you spend your time off, make sure you spend it. And if your employer doesn’t endorse it, find a better one that does.”
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