PTO Statistics – 2024

Written by: Branka

Updated: February, 17, 2024

Posted in:
Home Insights

We all know the old adage about all work and no play. And yet, the average American worker only has about 10 days of vacation per year. That’s less than half of what employees in other developed countries get. And it’s even less when you consider that many Americans don’t use all their vacation days and some don’t take any vacation at all. That’s why we prepared these essential PTO statistics to discuss how much vacation time Americans typically take and how important time off is. Keep reading! 

PTO Statistics (Editor’s Choice) 

  • The average paid time off in the US is 10 days a year for private workers. (Zippia)
  • 28 million Americans don’t have any paid vacation or paid holidays. (Zippia)
  • Non-profit organization employees have the longest PTO — 17.5 days on average. (Zenefits)
  • Northeastern states residents have the most vacation days on average. (Vacation Tracker)
  • 52% of people have worked during their time off. (Zippia)
  • 63% of employees won’t consider a job that offers fewer than 15 paid vacation days. (One Digital)

1. One–third of private industry workers received 10 to 14 days of paid vacation after one year on the job in 2021.

The normal PTO accrual rate for private industry workers in the US was 10.1 days per year in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This figure excludes paid holidays and sick days. In 2021, after 10 years of service, 33% of private industry workers received between 15 and 19 days of paid vacation. In an average small business company, meanwhile, people will receive three or four days of paid vacation for every five years they work with the company, according to PTO statistics for small business owners.

(U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Zippia)

2. 28 million Americans work without any paid time off.

The US is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation days and paid holidays. As a result, 31% of employees in the nation don’t get any paid time off. 


3. PTO time ranges from under a week to two weeks on average.

Studies have shown that employees who take regular vacations are more productive than those who don’t. They also have lower rates of absenteeism and turnover. Most companies do offer some form of PTO, typically between five and 15 days per year, with the national average hovering around 10 days. 


4. Paid time off statistics by job show that nonprofit organizations offer the most PTO, 17.5 days on average.

The sector significantly impacts the average PTO days in America. Non-profit and government workers get the best average vacation days by industry, while marketing and mining barely get anything at all.


PTO by Industry

5. Northeastern states have the best PTO allowance. 

If you live in New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, or Connecticut, chances are you have possibly the best average PTO in the USA — as many as 11.4 days. Then comes the West Coast with 9.4 days. Workers in the South and the Midwest, however, only get 8.5 days on average, employer paid time off statistics show. 

(Vacation Tracker)

6. 55% of Americans don’t use up all of their vacation days.

It’s no secret that Americans love their vacation days. In fact, 63% of employees would turn down a job offer if it didn’t include PTO. But even though they value time off, it seems that people are not very good at actually taking it. American workers failed to use 768 million days of PTO in 2018, leaving average vacation days per year of 6.5 days/employee on the table, which accounts for 27.2% of PTO days offered by employers.


7. As many as 77% of educators said they’d prefer a raise instead of days off.

While everyone needs a break, more people prefer cold, hard cash than an extra day or two off. Paid time off statistics by occupation show that educators are leading the pack in that regard with 77% and outperforming the average of 74% of respondents in a survey who would rather earn more money than receive more time off.


8. Up to 52% of employees report working during their time off.

Taking vacation days doesn’t necessarily mean that the person will take a break from work, with over half of employees reporting that they have worked during their vacation time. PTO stats further show that a massive 71% of employees have taken a staycation, sticking close to where they live. 


9. Around 54% of workers with PTO used sick days to take a mental health day. 

These employees, however, rarely disclose that to their boss. Stats further show that one in five employees has misled management about the reason for their holiday. 25% of those who have admitted to doing so say they took time off to sleep, while 50% needed a mental health day. 


10. Unlimited vacation policies grew by 178% from 2015 to 2019.

With an unlimited vacation policy, employees can take as many days off as they want, provided that it does not interfere with their work. Unlimited PTO stats show that 53% of employees stated that it’s “very important” to be at a job that allows people a better work-life balance and tends to their well-being. An unlimited vacation policy helps employers retain talent, gives employees more flexibility and autonomy when taking time off, and can result in increased productivity. 

(Jefferson, Zippia)

11. Businesses owe $1,898/employee in accrued PTO on average.

This amount spikes to an average of $2,609 per employee in companies with 500+ employees, PTO statistics based on the average American vacation days show. Naturally, when an employee quits, the employer needs to foot the bill, meaning, encouraging staff to use their vacation time pays off in the long run. 


In Conclusion

Paid time off is an important benefit that can help your employees feel valued and appreciated. It also gives them a chance to relax and rejuvenate, making them more productive when they return to work, as evidenced by PTO statistics. So, if you’re looking for a way to improve your company culture or just want to show your employees how much you appreciate them, PTO is the way. 

Sources: U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Zippia, Vacation Tracker, Jefferson