40,000,000 Opportunities To Travel - Employed New Yorkers Leave Up To 25% Of PTO On The Table!

Jan 4, 2022


A review of statistics from a variety of sources and using a variety of methods from 2015 to 2020 consistently yielded the same outcome - employed New Yorkers fail to use almost 25% of their vacation time each year:

  • Over 40 MILLION DAYS of paid time off are left on the table by employed New Yorkers in a typical year.
  • Over 12 MILLION PTO DAYS are forfeited forever - lost benefits with an estimated value of $3.4 billion!

Why does this matter? Well, use of paid time off to travel, spend time with friends, family and loved ones has a widespread beneficial impact on ourselves, our employers, our communities, and New York State as a whole. It is a practical way to improve physical and mental health, motivation, relationships, and job performance. It benefits EVERYONE.

Individual/Employee Will Benefit:

  • Reduced Stress and Anxiety
    • Vacations improve mental health by reducing stress, depression, and anxiety
    • Stress-related physical ailments such as headaches and backaches can be relieved for as much as five weeks after taking a vacation
  • Improved Physical Health
    • Lessens the risk of chronic inflammation which in turn lowers the probability of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses
  • Life Satisfaction
    • Taking paid vacation days is positively associated with overall health and life satisfaction
    • Sharing time with family, friends and loved ones improves relationships and well-being

Employer Will Benefit:

  • Employers experience significant benefits as a result of their employees taking vacations. Studies on the impact of using time off indicates:
    • Productivity: Employees who were required to take time off became significantly more productive than those who spent more time working.Employees reported that work-related tasks became less effortful after vacation as compared to before.
    • Retention: An Ernst & Young study found that for each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their performance reviews were 8% higher the following year and the employees were more likely to stay at the firm.

New York State Will Benefit:

  • If employed New Yorkers fully utilized their time off to travel instate, it would drive an estimated $6.2 Billion in travel spending, creating jobs, supporting local businesses and generating over $500 million in additional state and local tax revenues.
  • If employed New Yorkers simply used the time off that would otherwise be forfeited to travel instate, it would drive an estimated $1.9 Billion in travel spending, creating jobs, supporting local businesses and generating over $150 million in additional state and local tax revenues.

What To Do About This:

National Plan Your Vacation Day is Tuesday, January 25, 2022. People who plan their vacation time in advance are far more likely to fully utilize all of their PTO benefits.

  • Use your social media platforms, communicate with elected officials, employers and labor unions in your community, send press releases to local media outlets and build awareness of this opportunity to improve lives, the workplace and positively impact communities.
  • Stress not only the importance of using paid time off, but encourage the use of that time to explore your destination and visit other destinations across the state! Remember, the benefits from the use of time off are associated with vacation and travel experiences that enrich individuals and their relationships.

Rachele Markle
Communications Strategist
New York State Tourism Industry Association

Sources: U.S. Travel Research 2015 - 2020; NYS totals either reported or extrapolated from national data by NYSTIA staff.