Every year, millions of teenagers across the United States agree to shoulder unholy amounts of debt in exchange for the opportunity to party their asses off for a few years (and, at least in theory, get an education in the process).
Once they emerge from that four-year daze, former students are immediately forced to come to terms with the legal agreement they entered into after graduating from high school and are faced with the imposing task of paying off an average of $30,000 in student loans.
As of last year, Americans had a collective $1.5 trillion in student loan debt and that number only continues to grow as people attempt to figure out what the hell they’re going to do to get out of a hole that 20% of people think they’ll never dig their way out of.
As a result, former students have been forced to come up with some creative ways to lower what they owe—including appearing on a slightly dystopian television show that lets people but a dent in their debt.
Now, there’s a new strategy employees at one company can harness assuming they have no problem giving up a chance to take an occasional break from the rat race.
According to Business Insider, a Tennessee-based insurance company called Unum is allowing its employees to trade in their vacation days in exchange for some student loan relief.
The workers—who are given 28 days of paid time off each year for vacations and holidays—now have the option to forfeit up to five of them and receive a check they can use to reduce the amount they owe to student loan lenders:
The average Unum employee has $32,000 in student debt and payments of $350 a month, Greenfield reported. With the new program, which is operated by Fidelity Investments, each forfeited vacation day is worth that employee’s hourly rate, on a pre-tax basis.
For an employee earning $60,000 a year, that would translate to about $230 for a standard, 8-hour workday, or about $1,150 a year. Employees can start trading in their unused vacation days for 2019 beginning in January 2020.
I for one think this is good and normal and not at all indicative of a major issue currently plaguing the country that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Not one bit.