Americans are notoriously under-vacationed. Unlike our European counterparts — who can, of course, expect weeks of paid time off every year and will literally close down refineries to guarantee their months-long vacations — we ... don't. We stock our vacation days like "the good china," only busting it out when we are (a) desperate or (b) about to quit anyway. If you know a co-worker walking around with 16 weeks of stored-up time off that he's never going to take — well, he will appreciate this new start-up.
It's called PTO Exchange, and the concept is simple. Stockpiled paid time off is a hassle for employers. Squirrel away too much, and it represents an unexploited and difficult-to-manage financial obligation. Depending on your company's policies, most people simply roll over their unused days — potentially for years. It would be better for businesses to reckon with that value in a timely way — which is what PTO Exchange's founders are hoping will convince them to sign on. If employers do, their workers will be able to trade those stored-up weeks off into contributions to their retirement plans, or even plane tickets or hotel stays.
(Take a minute to appreciate that irony.)
Given that Americans are already culturally reluctant to actually leave the office, not everyone's a fan. Programs like this will only make us more likely to stay at our desks — when in fact the best thing for productivity might very likely be taking a week to stare at the waves. "I don’t think [this is] a real positive development for our performance and productivity,” Penn State University economics professor Lonnie Goldman told travel industry bible Skift.
Our opinion: Just go on a f----ing vacation already.