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Many workers didn't take their full paid time off this year

Posted at 2:14 PM, Dec 23, 2020

The number of people filing for unemployment for the first time is dropping slightly.

Just over 800,000 people filed last week, which is less than what was expected. For perspective, only about 287,000 filed the same time last year.

The total number of people still receiving some kind of benefits is just under 21 million.

Meanwhile, some people who do have jobs are leaving a lot of money on the table in 2020.

“If you don’t take time off, you are basically giving the company back almost a paycheck, like here you go, here's my one-week salary,” said Vicki Salemi, Monster Career Expert.

Career website Monster found almost half of workers didn't take their full paid time off this year.

The pandemic turned work life balance into an all-at-home blended mess for many. Many workers said they didn't take their time because there was nothing to do, nowhere to go, or they were worried about their jobs.

Only a small amount of workers are able to rollover their unused time into 2021.

Taking time off has been especially critical this year.

“You can see things more clearly. You may even be happier thinking about your time off even if that just meant you stayed on your living room couch and binged the latest show,” said Salemi.

Some employers, like Monster, even added mental health or additional days off this year, recognizing the extreme stress many were under.

Salemi says even if you don’t have big plans for your time away from work, create some sort of framework.

“It doesn't have to be rigid, but just so you feel like at the end of the day or the end of the time off, you don’t want to feel like it was for not, like its OK if you're just going to rest this whole time,” said Salemi.

If you didn't get in all that paid time this year, depending on your circumstance, it’s worth asking to see if you could carry some over into next year.

Now is also a good time to plan for 2021. Monster suggests even starting small with some three-day weekends in January and February.