Call it the vacation gap. Americans, who are among the most driven workers in the world, are piling up unused vacation days at the highest rate since Richard Nixon resigned. We're essentially working for free almost one week per year, on average, according to a new study.
The report, by research group Oxford Economics, showed U.S. workers are using only 77 percent of their paid time off. In 2013, U.S. workers took an average of 16 days of vacation compared with 20.3 days in 2000, according to the report. And while some employees are allowed to bank or roll over their vacation days into the next year, an average of 1.6 days were completely forfeited. In total, that's about 169 million days forfeited, amounting to $52.4 billion in lost benefits. Why? Experts say that among the reasons are: fear of the workload they'll have when they get back; concerns about keeping up with colleagues (including the boss) who don't take all their vacation days; and worries about being seen as the office slacker.