Purchasing Power®, a voluntary benefit company that offers the leading employee purchase program through the convenience of payroll deduction, is introducing new features of its vacation planning tool to better help employees use their vacation days without adding financial stress to their lives. 

The expanded vacation program comes at a time when 55 percent of Americans aren’t using all of their paid time off, according to a 2018 report from the U.S. Travel Association. Many employees say they don’t take vacation because they can’t afford it, but the ability to pay for travel through payroll deductions with manageable payments over 12 months opens up new opportunities that don’t require credit checks, hidden fees or interest.

With Purchasing Power Vacations, employees are able to search for and book flights, cruises, hotels, rental cars, tours, attractions and travel insurance. They can customize their entire vacation package and then pay for it over time through fixed payments. Previously, the employee benefit vacation program offered only destination options, but no supplemental travel needs or amenities.

Offering an affordable way to purchase a vacation without incurring credit card debt or a short-term loan can improve employee morale and a company’s bottom line at the same time.

"Unused vacation days are a red flag for companies, who recognize that rested employees are more productive employees,” said Elizabeth Halkos, Purchasing Power’s chief operating officer. “Taking a short break from the demands of work may seem like a luxury to some, but it’s so vital for our mental and physical health. Employers who provide support by offering an affordable way to payroll-deduct budget-friendly payments will reap the rewards of a less-stressed employee.”  

In fact, in a 2017 U.S. Travel Association survey, 78 percent of managers said that vacation improves employees’ focus upon return; 70 percent agreed it renews employees’ commitment to their job; and 64 percent felt it makes employees more willing to put in long hours when they are needed.

“Employers are seeing the value of having more encouraging vacation cultures, and employees are starting to feel more confident about using the time they earn. Now, we have a way to make sure cost doesn’t have to be a deterrent to getting away,” Halkos added.