VacationIn 2015, more than half of U.S. workers (55 percent) left vacation time unused — adding up to 658 million unused vacation days, according to research from Project: Time Off.

Why are employees not taking their vacation days? Surveyed workers cite the following reasons:

  • Not wanting to return to a mountain of work (37 percent)
  • Not believing someone else can do the job (35 percent)
  • Cannot afford a vacation (33 percent)

Employees also reported a lack of support from bosses and co-workers. Nearly two-thirds of surveyed workers reported that they hear nothing at all about taking vacation or hear mixed or discouraging messages about taking time off. Eighty percent of employees said they would be likely to take more time off if they felt supported and encouraged by their boss.

Remember in California “use it or lose it” policies are not allowed. If an employee earns vacation, you can’t take it away. Paid vacation in California is a form of wages.

You can, however, limit vacation by placing a reasonable cap on the amount of vacation an employee can accrue. Once the employee hits that cap, they can’t earn any more vacation until they use up some of the previously accrued time.

Gail Cecchettini Whaley, CalChamber Employment Law Counsel/Content