Paid time off—Americans are rarely granted enough of it, though we seldom take advantage of it when we are. PTO policies—which allot compensated vacation, sick and personal days off, as well as holidays—are credited to employees’ “banks,” usually every pay period. On average, employers in the United States offer 10 paid holidays, two weeks of vacation, two personal days and eight sick days per year.
That said, we’re a culture of self-prescribed “work martyrs,” encumbered by the idea that no one could do our jobs while we’re away, or otherwise troubled by the perception that we’re indeed replaceable.
Like women and men in most regards, millennial women are more likely than millennial men to say that their vacation time is “extremely” important, according to Project: Time Off’s report, State of American Vacation 2017. We’re more fervent believers in the many benefits of taking time off, more so than our male colleagues. But, for more women than men, high stress, guilt and workload concerns keep us in the office. We report experiencing more stress than men at work (74 percent to 67 percent), and are more likely to say that guilt (25 percent to 20 percent) and the mountain of work to which we’d return (46 percent to 40 percent) hold us back from vacationing.
We also worry more than men about vacation-related absences making us seem less committed to our jobs (28 percent to 25 percent), perhaps due to larger societal implications regarding women in the workplace. Essentially, our heightened perception of the culture of silence surrounding employee vacation surpasses any positive sentiments we have about it. We simply feel like our companies aren’t about it, even when our male coworkers think otherwise…