It's all based on what you value most.

By Maggie Seaver
July 18, 2019
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You may think vacation days are priceless, but it turns out that a surprising number of working professionals would be willing to give up their precious paid time off for a higher salary. Now hopefully that's a trade-off no one will ever have to make, but it does pose an intriguing insight into how differently people value PTO.

But let’s back up. According to results from a survey by travel insurance company Allianz Global Assistance, just over half of respondents (51 percent) said they'd never accept a job offer with no PTO, regardless of the salary. That makes sense—but what about the other half? Forty-nine percent said they would take a job with no paid time off—as long as they were compensated financially. Of this group, millennials (63 percent, compared to those of other generations) and men (57 percent, compared to women) were the most likely to sacrifice vacation days for more money.

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Knowing few people would willingly forgo vacation days with no other incentive, Allianz asked exactly how much more they'd need to be paid to make the deal worthwhile. On average, the American who'd give up PTO for higher pay would require a 48 percent salary increase. Although, surprisingly, two in 10 said they'd only require a 24 percent increase or less.

Survey participants were also polled about the opposite trade-off: Would they take a pay cut to experience the enticing promise of unlimited time off? Only 33 percent said yes, they'd give up some money (26 percent of their salary on average) for unlimited vacation, while just over half wouldn't sacrifice any of their current salary for unlimited PTO (the other 12 percent said they already get unlimited vacation).

The survey points out that millennials were the most likely to give up a portion of their paycheck for limitless vacation. Making that generation most likely to both give up vacation time for salary, and vice versa. In a press release for the survey, Allianz notes, this "[highlights] how important professional success and personal flexibility is to this generation." 

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