Should Your Company Offer Unlimited PTO?

by Evil HR Lady on October 4, 2017

Unlimited vacation days sound like a dream. Imagine being able to take off and go to the beach anytime you like. Or perhaps beach trips aren’t your thing, so you can go skiing every Friday or stay home every time your children are out of school. Think of the money you’ll save by not having to pay for child care during those times!

Unfortunately, unlimited PTO doesn’t really work that way in practice. You still need to do your job, which means you still need to work. And if you don’t do a good job and get all of your work done, you’ll be fired. So, unlimited PTO doesn’t necessarily translate into more time off.

Forbes says that everyone should offer unlimited PTO, based on Netflix’s example. After all, given today’s knowledge economy and the instant availability required in most jobs—time that isn’t tracked—why bother tracking time away from the office? It makes some sense, but it doesn’t always work in the employees’ favor. Here are some examples.

To keep reading, click here: Should Your Company Offer Unlimited PTO?

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

grannybunny October 4, 2017 at 3:42 pm

The culture of the organization is the absolute key. At mine, non-exempt employees are practically forced to use most of their vacation time each year, as their union contracts provide for their picking — based on seniority — several of their vacation weeks at the beginning of the year. Managers, on the other hand, frequently find themselves in “use or lose” (vacation hours) at the end of the year, as — absent a medical issue — most managers do not take much time off, so one who does tends to “stand out” and to attract extra, negative, scrutiny.


Evil HR Lady October 4, 2017 at 3:49 pm

I think it works at Netflix because the overall culture is good. But, if you implemented it at a lot of companies, it would be an abysmal failure.


the gold digger October 4, 2017 at 5:12 pm

It’s a total scam designed for CA employers to get unpaid vacation liabilities off their books!


nacho October 4, 2017 at 9:47 pm

Unlimited PTO sounds a lot like “non-manditory” team-building parties. The people who don’t do what they’re told they don’t have to suffer consequences because everyone else still does it.


Maria Rose October 4, 2017 at 10:14 pm

This would not work for MOST work cultures as businesses need to have performance timed based on consumer needs. The only ones who would get any benefit out of this would be those co- workers who “milk” the system. ( the ones who always need every weekend, holiday, school closure,off)


the gold digger October 5, 2017 at 8:05 pm

I truly cannot see employees benefiting from this at all. This is something for employers only. My husband’s company went to this kind of vacation shortly before he quit. People were scared to take time off because they didn’t know what was considered reasonable.


Elizabeth West October 5, 2017 at 4:32 pm

20 days of PTO? *faints dead away*

That would be nice. I’ve never worked at a place where that happened right out of the gate. Usually, it’s 5-10 days and you have to work for a year to get it. If you’re lucky, you get 15 days after working there for 5-7 years. Maybe I should move to Europe. 😛

At my last job, we accrued PTO hours starting after 30 days of employment (full benefits started then too). It was awarded each pay period. That was nice. Plus, they let us go 40 hours in the hole (you had to earn it back before you started accruing again), which helped when people had to be off unexpectedly, or wanted to take a longer trip. I did it when I spent three weeks in the UK. I think that’s a very good way to do it.

They didn’t roll it over, in an attempt to make sure people actually took time off. So you had to use it up by the end of the fiscal year in June. This resulted in a lot of folks frantically scheduling time off in June all at the same time. You could basically count on nobody being around then. On the bright side, the office was really quiet!

People complained a lot about having year-end in the summer, however, since many of them tried to plan vacations when their kids were out of school. They couldn’t take their time earlier in the year. If it had been December year-end, I think it would have been darn near perfect. I hope I can find another job that has benefits as good as theirs. *sigh*


Anon 12 October 11, 2017 at 11:10 pm

It’s not unlimited PTO, it’s a no accrual policy. There’s a difference. One is take as much as you want and the other is we aren’t funding a specific amount.


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