Your Hard-Working Grandparents Took More Real Vacations Than You, and It Shows
Photo: Sai Kiran Anagani / Unsplash

Your Hard-Working Grandparents Took More Real Vacations Than You, and It Shows

A new report reveals today’s employees are dipping into PTO but not taking true, extended time off from work

If your ass is dragging and you never truly rested or recharged in your full-time job, there could be a reason for that: You don't take real vacations.

If you're like a lot of U.S. workers, you dip into your vacation time with a day off here and a mid-week mental-health day there, but aren't using PTO to take a full break from work with vacations of a week or longer.

That's the conclusion of some data crunching The Washington Post did on about 40 years of data collected by the Census Bureau on 60,000 Americans every week. A byproduct of that data collection, which is used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the unemployment rate, is that you can also figure out the vacation day rate.

Related: Why I Stopped Feeling Guilty About Taking Time Off

"We regret to inform you that rate has fallen steadily, from 3.3 percent of the workforce in a given week in 1980 to 1.7 percent today," writes Andrew Van Dam.

And it's not that companies have taken away vacation time. The data suggests "more than 90 percent of full-time private-industry workers have access to paid vacation time." We just aren't taking weeks off.

Hispanic and Black workers are even less likely to take vacation time, according to the data, and younger employees use vacation time much less than those 55 and older. Teachers suffered the biggest hit over the 40 years, taking less time off and losing a significant chunk of their traditional summer vacations, according to the data.

Want to buck the trend? Send the boss that five-day PTO request, and book that Cancun resort trip you've been putting off. Enjoy the margaritas!

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