top of page

Why you don’t take your PTO

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

In my former life, I was a Human Resources Professional. I’ve done all the things - payroll, leaves, recruiting, benefits, compensation - and I’ve seen more than I want to of things I could’ve lived a lifetime without. In every company I worked with, I saw too many employees not taking the benefit their employer gave them - paid time off or vacation time. And I’ve seen people struggle with taking PTO even though they will lose it if they don’t. In the US, 55% of employees do not use all of their paid time off. In fact, the US Travel Association found that employees leave 33% of their PTO unused every year.

One thing we heard frequently in any HR office I worked in was employees wanted more PTO. New employees would negotiate for a higher rate when we offered the role to them, and newly promoted employees would ask for a bump in their rate - but the vast majority of employees never used those higher rates. Employers are also realizing this, capping vacation accruals annually, the use it or lose mentality, and employees are still not taking time off.

So, how are you feeling? Burned out? Need a break? During and after the pandemic, the Society of Human Resource Management found that 76 percent of adult workers experienced burnout, described as exhaustion (both mental and physical) which leads to poor morale, work performance, and turnover. (You know, the Great Resignation)

Even when you take that vacation, you feel guilty about not being available to your teammates or manager. Research shows that employees feel being a constant presence even outside of regular work hours makes them believe they are more likely viewed as dependable and committed. Most employees don’t see this as what it is - time theft. If you were to fall asleep at work, your employer would call it time theft; but when you check emails or send out that TPS report while you are on PTO, that is also time theft.

So what’s holding you back from your next vacation? This may be where travel advisors' resurgence comes into play. Planning a vacation can be just as stressful as your job. Not to mention all the constantly changing health regulations that we’re dealing with after the snap, most people don’t want to figure all that out on their own now. The logistics of planning a getaway in the current environment drive many to seek help from travel advisors.

Take a look at your PTO accruals the next time you look at your employee portal or your paycheck stub. Maybe it’s time to take a jump and ask for some help. Check out my next blog to find out why travel advisors may be the most beneficial route to go!


Zippia, Chris Kolmar, 8/18/2022,

“How passive ‘face-time’ affects perceptions of employees: Evidence of spontaneous trait interference.” Elsbach, Cable, & Sherman,

Woman Behind the Bear
bottom of page