Study: 4 in 10 employees prefer more vacation time instead of raise

ATLANTA — Work hard, play harder? A new study shows that nearly half of employees would choose more vacation time over a pay raise, if given the choice.

Spherion Staffing Services, an employment agency, polled 2,062 employed American adults online earlier this year, along with 733 human resources managers, hoping to find attitudes on taking time off.

Family on beach vacation at sunset
Perhaps the old adage should be, “Time off is money.” A new study finds 41% of workers would take more vacation time over a pay raise.

Forty-one percent of all respondents said they would accept additional vacation time at the expense of pay, and 70 percent said that they saw paid vacation time to be a basic employee right.

Nearly 40 percent of respondents believed that their company’s paid time off plan was inferior to that of industry rivals, which Spherion said could lead to job dissatisfaction.

A full 30 percent of those polled said they’d feel guilty if they took time off, while 42 percent felt as if their absence would disrupt their team’s performance.

Perhaps most troubling, more than one-fourth of respondents said they were expected to work while on vacation, which was due to a significant number of employers expressing it to be a priority.

To help relieve employees, Spherion found that 43 percent of companies gave their staff opportunities to do community service projects during the workday, and 47 percent offered sabbatical programs.

The most agreed-on trend among employees seems to be the need for a clear boundary between one’s professional and personal life, illustrated by 88 percent of employees indicating that having a strong work-life balance is crucial in any new job.

“For companies that cannot afford to offer substantial raises at the moment, extra vacation time – or flexibility that allows workers to take time away without feeling connected to their job – can elevate morale, increase retention and build positive perception of their workplace,” emphasizes Sandy Mazur, Spherion Division President, in a press release.

Spherion hired an outside firm to conduct its polling, which weighted various factors in compiling its results.


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