PTO Hesitations: Why Do Employees Skip Time Off?

Paid Time Off allows us to rest, clear our heads, and support our mental health. So, why do so many employees carry over or forfeit their PTO each year?  Some employees are afraid to request PTO, as it may lead to the appearance of not being committed to their work. Other employees may be worried about the amount of work upon their return. Some employees save their PTO hours in case they need it as salary insurance for a potential medical situation.

Potawatomi Hotel recently surveyed full-time workers to understand PTO habits and how COVID-19 impacted these habits in 2020. They found that COVID-19 reinforced these negative PTO habits. Some employees believed taking time off from work was a waste of time during this pandemic due to fears of travel, logistics, and travel restrictions. Staycation, anyone?  Potawatomi also found employees had PTO guilt, leading employees to feel afraid of posting their vacation photos on social media if their colleagues would see it.

As employers, what can we do to encourage our employees to request PTO and truly take some time away from work? Observe your company culture. Do leaders send emails after hours or on weekends? Do your top executives answer emails, take phone calls, or attend meetings while on vacation? These actions may lead to employees believing they must commit themselves to work outside of regular business hours and while on paid leave. Take a look at essential responsibilities coverage while employees are on vacation to help reduce the work pile upon return. Employers Council recommends ongoing conversations with employees around self-care and the importance of time away to recharge ourselves. Communicate the benefits of time away include increased productivity, creativity, and performance. PTO is good for employees and employers alike.

Please contact us to discuss PTO for you and your employees.