What Should Your PTO Policy Look Like?

by Evil HR Lady on September 25, 2017

Vacation, sick time, personal days—it’s enough to make your head spin when you’re trying to come up with a perfect paid time off (PTO) policy for your company. While there isn’t a “perfect” solution that all businesses should adopt, there are some guidelines that will help you make the best PTO policy for your business.

What Do Your Competitors Do?

While it’s important to look at your direct business competitors, what you really want to look at here is competitors for your talent. What businesses are your new hires coming from? When people quit, where are they going? People highly value vacation as one of their benefits. If your “competitors” are offering more vacation, or more flexibility, you’re going to find it difficult to attract the best people.

To keep reading, click here: What Should Your PTO Policy Look Like?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Arrows September 25, 2017 at 3:46 pm

I’m at a company with one PTO bucket instead of sick and vacation buckets. I had the same concerns mentioned in the article, that I wouldn’t want to use my sick time so I could have more vacation time. But it works well in my organization because we are given plenty of PTO. I started with 3 weeks PTO which increased to 4 weeks after a few years.
I believe the single PTO bucket works if it is generous.


the gold digger September 25, 2017 at 7:01 pm

I don’t think three weeks of PTO is generous if it is also supposed to include sick leave. It looks like entry-level benefits to me.

When I started at my current job, they sent me the same offer letter they would have sent to a new college hire with the same benefits – two weeks of vacation.

I have 20 years of experience.

I told the hiring manager I wanted vacation comparable to what I had already. I am not starting back at two weeks again.


Arrows September 25, 2017 at 7:43 pm

Yes, it was an entry level position. Prior to that, I had never received more than 10 days vacation and 2 sick days per year.


the gold digger September 25, 2017 at 8:17 pm

OK, I can see that. My first job, I got two weeks vacation and nobody ever defined sick days. I guess if I had called out sick too often, my boss would have had a word. But the attitude seemed to be (I have called out sick twice in my corporate career), “If you’re sick, don’t come to work.”


Melissa Kay September 26, 2017 at 9:06 pm

My current employer is the first to give me a good amount of PTO. Most places won’t give you any until you’re their for a year.


nacho September 29, 2017 at 9:39 pm

My office does the one bucket thing. It sets the bar higher for staying home because you’re sick (I nearly killed myself this year going to work before I was fully recovered from a bad flu), but it also seriously buoys the days we get off, so if we don’t get sick enough that we have to miss work, we get a full 4 weeks vacation plus holidays at an entry level job.


Danielle January 16, 2018 at 7:42 pm

Here at my agency, we give our employees 2 weeks off to start plus 2 sick days, all the normal holidays and also Christmas Eve. When they have a doctor appointment or something, we don’t count that against them, and the occasional unexcused absence for sick kiddos is ok. They also earn more vacation time off the longer they work here, and we close at 4:30pm on Fridays. The upside is that they are happy with the time off benefits, and the downside is that they use their sick days whether they are sick or not. Some of them are out of sick days by the end of January each year- lol. All the same, it doesn’t matter to us unless they have excessive unexcused absences.


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