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$272 billion tied up in accumulated private sector vacation time

Staff Writer | October 13, 2016
The uncertain vacation culture created by America's managers has led to $272 billion in accumulated vacation time sitting on the balance sheets of U.S. businesses this year.
Vacation culture
Free time   The High Price of Silence
This is according to a new Project: Time Off report, The High Price of Silence: Analyzing the Business Implications of an Under-Vacationed Workforce. Private sector vacation liability has surged 21 percent in the last year.

The report, based on survey research by GfK and a review of 10-K financial statements by Oxford Economics, analyzes management's unique time off viewpoints, pressures, and privileges to uncover contradictions that contributed to 658 million unused vacation days in 2015.

Despite an overwhelming belief (93%) among managers in the importance of time off, six-in-ten managers (59%) report leaving time on the table, compared to slightly more than half of employees (53%). Senior management is considerably worse, with fully two-thirds (67%) of executive and senior leaders who left vacation unused last year.

The report reveals a troubling narrative about the stresses faced by senior leaders, caught between the C-Suite and the rest of the organization.

The challenges senior leaders experience in planning and using their vacation may have a negative influence on company culture, as they interact most closely with non-manager employees.

The fear of returning to a mountain of work was cited by 55 percent of senior leaders on why they didn't use their vacation time, compared to just 26 percent of executives.