Time Off Under Threat: Inflation and Layoffs Impact Workers Vacation Plans
Discover how inflation and layoffs are threatening workers' summer vacations. A study reveals why many Americans are canceling or reducing their time off, impacting both employees and companies.
For many Americans, summer vacation holds special significance. However, a recent study by ELVTR, an online learning platform based in Irvine, California, reveals that 55% of workers are either reducing their time off or canceling vacation plans due to a combination of factors, including recent layoffs.
Roman Peskin, co-founder of ELVTR, expressed concerns about job security, saying, "I think a lot of people are worrying [about losing] their jobs because there's a reason to actually worry about losing their jobs. I don't think that most Americans are in a situation [where] they are positioned to take risks."
The study, conducted in May and surveying 2,300 workers over 18 years old (1,800 from the US and 500 from Canada), found that 37% of US workers are taking less time off due to understaffing caused by layoffs, and 20% are forgoing vacations altogether.
Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, who was not involved in the study, points out that despite job gains and economic recovery post-COVID, data shows that people are continuing to work through their vacation time. One reason for this is inflation, which has diminished purchasing power, leading workers to feel financial pressure to keep working.
Moreover, workers have lost negotiating power with their employers in the last year, making it easier for employers to find workers amid the COVID recovery and labor force participation.
Even when workers manage to take time off, genuine relaxation is rare. The study reveals that about 68% of workers still work while on vacation, and 46% struggle to switch off. Additionally, 57% get anxious if they don't check their work emails, while a quarter admit to disturbing their colleagues during their vacation.
Such behavior can have serious consequences. The study indicates that 45% of workers have upset their partners or travel companions by working on vacation. Furthermore, constant work-related stress can lead to burnout, causing workers to quit their jobs.
Pollak emphasizes that diminished or absent vacation also impacts companies, as workers frequently cite burnout as a primary reason for leaving their jobs. She suggests that companies may benefit more by granting employees vacation time to prevent burnout and retain valuable talent.