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Americans have a psychologically twisted relationship with paid time off

This is alarming, given that “time off” is code for your real life.

Americans have a psychologically twisted relationship with paid time off
[Photo: Crew/Unsplash]

It’s official: Capitalism has overtaken our souls. Two out of five workers feel guilty for taking paid time off, according to a new survey by Zenefits.

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This is alarming, given that “time off” is code for your real life. The survey indicates that Americans are a psychological hot mess on the topic: Half of employees don’t take paid time off due to high workloads or worries about job security, and 49% don’t take their allotted vacation days, yet nearly three-quarters agree that paid time off makes them feel more productive and healthier at work, and a quarter of employees would be willing to take a pay cut to get more of it.

In other words: desire to do it more, guilt for doing it, guilt for not doing it, repeat. Hmm.

Zenefits points the finger at employers, writing that “company policies are definitely misaligned with employees’ need for rest.” Only one in five employees say that their company’s paid time off policy allows them to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Last year, American workers left a whopping 768 million vacation days unused, which was up 9% from the prior year. Compare this to, say, the hooky-loving French, who enjoy a dozen holidays and five weeks off each year, and this week are skipping work for their biggest strike in decades.

The Zenefits survey questioned 1,000 workers at companies under 500 employees, who said that paid time off was their second-most prized benefit, after health insurance.

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