Why We Need to Make Employees Take a Mandatory Vacation This Year

Have any of your workers not taken employee PTO this year? If so, it may be a good idea to introduce a mandatory vacation policy. 

A growing body of research suggests that time off can help reduce stress (as if we needed scientists to tell us that!), improve our health, and increase our productivity at work. Plus, contrary to popular belief, there’s more to life than Zoom calls, job responsibilities, and office politics!

The Results Are In: Americans Are Not Good at Taking Time Off Work

As many as 79% of private industry workers had access to paid leave in 2019. Yet, a full third of U.S. workers left at least half of their vacation days unused. 

Things haven’t improved much since. A whopping 92% of people report that they have canceled, postponed, or failed to book a vacation since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employee PTO Matters — Here’s What the Numbers Say

Unfortunately, working that hard may come at the expense of our health. A 2021 study by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) found that:

  • Long working hours may have caused 745,000 deaths from stroke and heart disease in 2016 alone.
  • Working 55 hours per week or more may increase the risk of having a stroke and dying from ischemic heart disease by 35% and 17%, respectively. 

In contrast, this nine-year study of 12,000 middle-aged men at high risk of developing coronary heart disease found that taking more vacations per year was associated with a significantly lower mortality rate. 

Furthermore, a day of vacation may be as effective in relieving stress and promoting well-being as meditating for 15 minutes each day for two weeks. 

Employee time off is good for business, too. Workers who take eleven or more days of vacation per year are 30% more likely to get a raise. They also report greater job satisfaction. 

How Mandatory Vacation and Corporate Benefits Programs Can Help

If your employees are not taking full advantage of their paid leave, consider implementing a mandatory vacation policy. This way, they can disconnect from their jobs and daily stressors guilt-free, without worrying that this might hurt their career.

Corporate benefits are another highly effective tool to encourage your workers to de-stress. Travel can be expensive. With 63% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck since the outbreak of the pandemic, many may have no choice but to cut back on leisure expenses. Providing your team with corporate discounts on travel, retail, and entertainment can help them boost their disposable income by more than $4,500 and afford a well-deserved vacation. 

Take Employee PTO to the Next Level with Abenity

Our corporate benefits program includes deals on hotel stays, car rentals, and tickets to attractions, as well as resources for vacation scheduling best practices, traveling on a budget, and more. Your employees can pick from local, national, and international discounts at over one million locations across 10,000 cities to make the most out of their employee time off.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

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