Finding Balance between Vacation, PTO and Unlimited Time off Policies

We read a recent article that mentioned Millennials now represent half of the current workforce.  This group is continually pushing the HR group to reshape the organization’s benefits policies to match their work-life balance.  One of the benefits at the top of the list on most employee surveys is more time off from work. A lot of the tech and start-up companies have adopted the Unlimited Time Off (UTO) policy as an answer to their employees’ request.  Many of the companies that have implemented the UTO are realizing that a majority of their employees are taking fewer days off than when they have a traditional vacation or PTO policy with a set number of days.  There is enough antidotal evidence to indicate that a UTO policy is not necessary to meet the Millennials needs for time off.  Several organizations are adopting a liberal PTO policy with the understanding that most of the days allocated for that year must be used to ensure an adequate amount of time off to avoid burn-out and maximum flexibility on how the PTO days are taken.   The number of carry-over days to the next year should be limited to five or fewer days or the option for more carry-over days to go into a catastrophic account for the employee.

A traditional vacation policy of two weeks to four weeks based on years of employment with an organization is too limiting for the Millennials.  Since they tend to change organizations more often, then they aren’t typically going to get to the three to four weeks level.  A PTO policy tends to be the right balance between a vacation policy and UTO policy.  The number of PTO days in our part of the country is within a range of 15 to 30 per year.

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