More Culture:

August 30, 2017

Travel survey finds that PTO guilt is real for many working Americans, especially millennials

It’s that time of year when most offices feel particularly vacant as everyone seems to be away on vacation, and those left behind wonder how on earth they found themselves not on a beach somewhere.

For younger people in the workforce, taking vacation days does not come easy. According to a recent survey from travel insurance company Allianz Global Assistance, American millennials aren’t prone to taking their paid time off; the very idea of asking for PTO is enough to induce guilt, shame and fear.

Millennials are the most robust age group to feel this way, but they're not alone.

Overall, about 25 percent of all Americans surveyed – regardless of age – reported negative emotions surrounding their PTO requests. The survey found that a good portion of Americans – 42 percent – don’t even take all their allotted paid vacation time. Of that 42 percent, almost half – 48 percent – are millennials aged 18 to 34.

Nonetheless, millennials and Gen Xers alike value vacations more than the average baby boomer.

“Many Americans, millennials in particular, are leaving vacation days on the table which could be the result of vacation shaming – the sense of shame, guilt or other negative feelings received from co-workers for taking a vacation,” Daniel Durazo, director of communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA, said in a statement

“We were surprised to see that when compared to older generations, millennials more commonly succumb to these negative feelings by choosing not to take all their entitled vacation days. Meanwhile, Gen X’ers place the same amount of importance on vacations, but seem to have the system better figured out because they are the most likely to take all their allotted vacation time.”

The trend of millennials straying from their vacation days is just part of a broader trend common among many American workers, however. Fifty-three percent of Americans surveyed had not taken a vacation in over a year, and about 37 percent said they hadn’t taken a vacation in more than two years.

Perhaps to stir your vacation lust, Allianz put together this video of their study findings against tempting vacation imagery.