It’s been all over the news recently, but it isn’t really groundbreaking to anyone. Americans aren’t using all of their vacation days, despite assurances that not taking time off can lead to burnout and other health issues — research has even shown that vacation is good for families, with 37% of families saying that it makes them happy.
And yet, a recent report by Allianz, a travel insurer, has shown that more than 170 million Americans haven’t taken a single vacation in the last year, and 41% of respondents to a different survey stated that taking a trip is important still haven’t booked one.
It can be especially frustrating to workers who have allotted paid time off, but still feel like they can’t afford to take it. A company called PTO Exchange, however, is launching a new program which allows companies to buy back that unused vacation time, instead of rolling it over.
The program works a lot like collecting points on a credit card, and workers are able to trade unused time off for money that goes in their retirement accounts, towards their student loans, or to non-profits. The system also allows for employees to give their time off to coworkers.
PTO Exchange also does its fair share to encourage actually using the days off as well — they have partnered with Priceline to allow employees to book deals on flights and hotels.
PTO Exchange may be the first platform of its kind, but the idea it operates on is old news. A 2013 study conducted by Society for Human Resource Management found that 9% of employers allowed their employees to trade in their unused time off for money, and another 7% let employees donate vacation time to a general pool.