Survey: Income, Generation, And Gender Differences In PTO Use And Preferences

July 18, 2016

A survey from TriNet revealed some interesting information about the differences that exist in paid time off (PTO) use and preferences amongst different age and income groups.  The survey sought to gauge the impact of various PTO benefits on workers’ behaviors and their job performance and found that employees consider PTO a very important part of their job satisfaction.  A whopping 89% of all employees surveyed consider PTO important to their job satisfaction and count PTO packages as an important component when evaluating a new position.  Regardless of age, gender, or generation, this means generous vacation packages are no longer just considered a bonus; many workers see them as a necessity.

Differences By Income Levels
The survey found that nearly one-third of employees mainly take time off for medical emergencies, family obligations, or personal obligations.  Employees who take time off for these reasons earn, on average, $22,000 less per year than those who mainly take time off for pleasure.  This may be due to lower income individuals having to serve as caregivers for their loved ones while higher salaried employees may be able to afford support options to assist with certain situations.  Employers must recognize that their employees need and deserve personal time off to recharge so that they can be effective at their jobs, and as such, addressing these challenges will be critical to business success.

Differences By Generations
The survey also showed that older workers expect more time off than their younger colleagues.  Specifically, baby boomers were twice as likely (26%) to say they need four weeks or more off from work than millennials (13%).  According to Tina Hawk, Director of Human Capital Services at TriNet, “baby boomers are usually making a little bit more, so they’re actually able to travel and get away from the office, and they’ve got families established.  Millennials tend to take off in short spurts.”  In regard to the ideal amount of PTO, the largest share of respondents in each age group, including baby boomers (46%), generation X (45%) and millennials (56%) cited two to three weeks of PTO as the ideal amount.

Difference By Gender
There were also gender differences identified in the survey.  Specifically, 60% of women said they never check email while on PTO, compared to only 40% of men.  The same percentages (60% vs. 40%) felt PTO was essential to their workplace happiness.  As the importance of workplace diversity continues to increase, a shift in PTO benefits may also occur.

Topics: Wellness


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