Amount of unused vacation time often depends on an employer's vacation rollover policy

Improved wellness, morale, performance, and productivity are all benefits that a majority of HR professionals (90"94%) believe result when employees take paid vacation, according to the Society for Human Resource Management's (SHRM) Vacation Benefits and Their Impact on the Workplace survey.

The survey was commissioned by and conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Travel Association.

More than two-thirds of HR professionals also either agree or strongly agree that employees who started taking more vacation would experience higher levels of job satisfaction (74%), be more productive (72%), perform better (69%), and experience greater engagement (67%).

"It is important for managers and company leaders to see the value in employees taking a vacation," said Lisa Orndorff, SHRM's manager of employee relations and engagement. "They should also encourage their people to use their leave, 'unplug' if possible, and take a break from the work, even if it's just a day or two every few months."

However, 61% of organizations report that employees have an average of three or more unused vacation days each year.

"We found that features of employers' vacation plans and the ability to roll over time off determined whether employees took all their vacation time," says Evren Esen, manager of SHRM's Survey Research Center. "Many employees seem to want to reserve vacation time, saving it for the next year, if they are able to roll over time from year to year."

The survey showed that about three in five organizations (62%) allow employees to roll over vacation days (54% with limited rollover days, and 8% unlimited rollover), while over one-third of organizations (38%) do not allow employees to roll over vacation time from year to year.

Among those organizations with "use it or lose it" plans, 36% of employees had three or more unused vacation days, while 73% of employees from organizations with limited rollover plans had three or more unused days.

Additionally, three-quarters (77%) of organizations that do not offer rollover report that most employees (81%"100%) use all of their vacation days each year, while 31% of organizations that allow rollover indicate that most employees (81%"100%) use all of their vacation days each year.