A story in the Trib got our attention with the partial headline “Employers brace for a ‘PTO bomb.” Personal time off, or vacation time, has gone largely unused this year. The numbers cited in the article say the percentages come out to 25% to 30% fewer days used than usual.
That in itself isn’t surprising. Who wants to burn vacation time when there’s nowhere to go? And then there’s that nagging fear of getting infected while in public. Beyond that, a vacation day might feel like a waste to those employees who are lucky enough to be working from home and already physically detached from their places of business. Then there’s the self-preservation perspective: As we’ve all watched people around us lose jobs because of the pandemic, there’s that added concern of not appearing to be “all in” during a time of crisis. Perception is reality in a lot of workplaces.
This all means that requests will likely stack up over the next few months. Experts tell the Tribune that a wave of “time off” requests is almost surely coming, since most companies have a “use it or lose it” stance on PTO.