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Americans Don't Take Off Enough PTO

Wasting $67.5 Billion Worth of Vacay Days

Seems like we're a workaholic nation — although we're getting less PTO compared to other countries, we're also choosing to use less of them. The average worker gets about 18 days of PTO, but only took 14, according to a survey done last year by Here's how much PTO the average person from other countries is getting and how the worker has been spending them:

  • France: Received 37 PTO days and used 35.
  • Spain: Received 31 PTO days and used 29.
  • Italy: Received 30 PTO days and used 27.
  • Denmark: Received 29 PTO days and used 27.
  • Great Britain: Received 28 PTO days and used 25.


Since Americans gave up 448 million PTO days, CNN calculated the costs to total $67.5 billion. But frugality might be the reason behind the unused vacation days.

"Vacations tend to suck up money. They tempt people to spend more, save less, and take on more debt. By forfeiting some of their vacation days, Americans are trying to eliminate the temptation to spend money," Scott Spiker, head of investment adviser firm, First Command Financial Services, said. Personally, I don't always think that taking your PTO days will cause you to spend more. You don't necessarily have to go on a trip, you can instead use them to enjoy a longer weekend just to take a break from work.

What about you — do you use up all your vacay days?

Image Source: Thinkstock
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Jemma84 Jemma84 5 years
I TAKE EVERY SINGLE ONE. We get 20 days a year and I work more than 40 hours every single week of the year, so I feel that I've earned them. My coworkers brag about how they never take vacations, which I don't understand. Not taking the days off that you've earned doesn't make you some sort of martyr or a better employee...
runswimmerrun runswimmerrun 5 years
Engineerdette, I agree! (and I'm also an engineer.) I took unpaid time last year because visiting my sister was more important to me. I live under my means to make up for the lost paychecks.
enginerdette enginerdette 5 years
I overuse them. I usually take some unpaid time off because I am always short on vacation days... maybe I should move to France.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 5 years
I use all of my PTO, as well! If for some reason I don't (last year I think I didn't use like a half a day or something), I get them paid out at the end of the year, so no money lost for me! I'm wondering how many of the unused PTO is "sick days" and not "vacation days." I know they function very similarly, but I know so many people who keep them separate in their minds and try to save their sick days in case, you know, they get sick.
millarci millarci 5 years
Every. Single. One. Heck, I earned them. I might as well! ;)
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