by Jim Annis
Unlimited paid time off, or PTO, has almost reached superhero status in the media, showcased by startups and giants like GE and Adobe. This permissive approach to time off has burst forth from the phone booth with a super cape, promising that if employees are getting their work done and have received approval, they can take time off when they want and need to.
Is unlimited PTO realistic?
It is if your work culture allows it, which means looking at the staff holistically. Some employers will never allow employees to take PTO. They believe in the concept itself, and use it for recruiting purposes, yet when an employee uses the time, it is irritating or miserable for the employee to come back to the job. Still yet, some employers reward employees that never take PTO, enforcing a culture of no time off … even if it is available.
One-size-fits all, use-it-or-lose-it two-bucket policies are dead. Companies that make people wait a year before they take PTO are outdated and not competitive. Candidates are negotiating their time off as part of their employment package. Millennial job seekers in particular look favorably on unlimited days versus the 15 days most U.S. companies provide. After recruitment, employers with time off benefits see greater loyalty and retention. Pros of unlimited PTO include no accrued expense (and related balance sheet liability) for banked time, no end-of-year rush to take unused vacation days that do not carry over and employee ownership over their own time.