What is your company policy around PTO? How often do you take time off?

I was inspired by this thread and wanted to ask you all Elphas: what is your company policy around PTO and how often do you take them?Personally, I used to NEVER take time off (started in the last 12 months mostly because I started working on a personal project and needed that time but it was never to "unplug") because I do a relatively good job at setting work/non-work boundaries and also because I truly hate the feeling of nostalgia that I have when I have to go back to work after a few days off, so yes I just don't put myself through it. :-) Tell us about you!
We have unlimited PTO, and our managers are supposed to nag us if we don't use four weeks. For the pandemic, there's also a quarterly mental health day. I'm fairly new at the company, so I haven't taken much time off yet, partly because I want to establish myself solidly here, and partly because there's been nowhere to go, no out of town visitors to entertain, etc. I'm taking two days off this week, though. It's spring break, so we'll go on a couple of day trips around town probably.
This is fantastic! I am so happy you are takign those two days - where will you go on your day trips (and where are you based btw)?
I'm in the Boston area. Going to look at the ocean for a bit tomorrow. :)
Amazing - love Boston and REALLY want to go to Martha's Vineyard haha!
Thanks for sharing this Twitter thread! It has some great ideas I’d like to share with my org.I'm at a nonprofit with unlimited PTO, which I think is great in theory, but not in practice, especially on a small team where you either have to coordinate coverage, work overtime to accomplish everything before you're out of office, or return to the office with backlog to work through.There's some research that employees with unlimited PTO take fewer days off; for example, Buffer had this challenge, so they switched to a 3-week minimum vacation policy (not mandated, but strongly encouraged): org is experimenting with closing the office around holidays, e.g. Thurs-Mon for Memorial Day and July 4th weekends. Last year from May-Sept, my team took Fridays off.Other ideas that have been suggested to leadership:- 4-day 32-hour work week (Mon-Thur)- Last Fridays of the month off (I’d like to use them for a )- Meeting-free daysLast year, I think I took 20-25 days off (usually the Friday before a long weekend and the last 2 weeks of December). This year I’m aiming to take last Fridays off and 1 week off per quarter, the latter of which was inspired by
These are really good ideas that were suggested by leadership. We also have unlimited PTO, but I agree, most people tend to not take time off because we have less than 5 employees, for the exact reasons you listed above.A couple months into COVID, we re-evaluated our vacation notice policy and time off to combat burn out:-We have more flexibility to work from a different city if needed.-We also end after all hands on every Friday, typically after 1:30. (You can still schedule meetings until 3pm which is when we're officially off). - This was actually started to help members with creative work, but has helped us a lot with burnout.-Forced Nationally paid holidays (If productivity is low, we'll force a company wide holiday, typically on a paid national holiday). Again, people can still work, but most take off. -Moved Standup to the morning at 9:30 or 10, so people have the flexibility in the evening if they need to end early.
PTOs are one of the greatest scams in the history of modern HR :-) Take your days- you've earned them!
We used to have unlimited PTO, then our company was acquired and now we're on limited PTO + national holidays (bank holidays in the UK). I loved unlimited PTO for its flexibility with parenting young children. It was wonderful to be able to take off an afternoon so I could get to a school event, such as sports day or a nativity. I wouldn't have to justify why I needed it, I could just go. Or if one of the children were sick. Or if I needed a mental health day. Or had an appointment.Now we're limited, I find myself carefully calculating if I really _need_ to take time off, just in case I need it later on in the year. Which makes me feel trapped, to be honest. And I feel pressured to really do something with any time off I do book, rather than just rest.
My thinking is that if you are starting to go down that route of calculating those days, it means you probably need them and therefore should take them without feeling guilty. I know easier said than done!!
When I first moved to Canada, the amount of PTO here shocked me because I was used to 20 days minimum in the Czech Republic. However, most public holidays here are on Monday, so we get a lot more long weekends than back in CZ. Our company has 15 days of PTO and we are encouraged to take them all, especially now during the pandemic. The managers are luckily wary of our mental health (and the cynic in me thinks that a burnt out employee is far less productive than a well rested one :D ). Our work time is also flexible so if I need to run an errand in the middle of the day I don't need to take time off for that as long as I get my work done. As our company is fairly diverse, there's also no problem taking further unpaid time off when we need to go and visit family overseas.
When we first created our company, we talked very carefully about avoiding using unlimited PTO because we'd experienced first-hand the lack of vacations that came with that policy. Instead we decided on 20 days (4 weeks) of PTO that lapse on every employee anniversary, so we actively encourage employees to take time off to recharge before their days expire. During the pandemic, we've also gifted an extra 3 days of PTO each in 2020 and 2021 so that employees can have more mental health and burnout recuperation days as well.I also personally made it a policy to lead by example and do a full work cut-off if I'm on PTO (ie I'm not answering Slack or Emails when I'm OOO and everyone knows they have to figure stuff out themselves before/after I get back). It's been helpful to others and employees now regularly follow suit. Not all of the Exec team does this, but they try as much as possible to for the sake of setting the example. I actually just took off 2 days last week, and I so desperately needed them without even realizing it.
I feel like PTO is treated very differently in Europe vs US. In Europe the expectation is you will use all holiday available to you, including bank/national holidays. It’s more frowned upon not to use it in my experience!
I work in the US but my boss and most of my teammates are in France - I never ever get any push back on taking time off, and seeing all the time they take off encourages me to make sure I use all my time!
One of my favorite exercises to do with clients is to *set goals* to take vacation and sick days. My recommendation is usually:- 1 week (or 1/4th of your available days) vacation days - 3-6 sick daysPer quarter, which comes out to about 3-4 days per month. Though I work for myself these days, this is a habit I formed in my last corporate role. It brought such a lightness to my work that I carried it over to my coaching practice (I take off the last week of every quarter!), and just love working with clients to create their own goals!
I love this idea! Building in time off as a goal and making it just as important as other goals is a great suggestion especially when we see such high numbers of folks not using PTO whether they accrue or have unlimited
I'm so glad this resonates! When I use it personally, I find that it reframes PTO from a fallback option to an aspiration!
I have 15 days PTO and sick days combined, and 8 holidays and flexible hours. Salaried roles gets unlimited PTO. I usually take all my PTO for the year (it's not all for vacation), and it's typically not enough.
Wow that is LOW!!! I’m sorry 😞
Oh I was mistaken! I get 15 days PTO and 6 sick days. Still very low in my opinion, as I'm hourly while my salaried colleagues gets unlimited. It's a bit discouraging
That’s still incredibly low, you’re right. Where I am in South Africa we don’t have the best leave policies but we do get 12 sick days and minimum 15 working days (3 weeks). I’m freelance so I don’t get paid leave at all but that’s a personal choice for me because I like the flexibility of the work. It’s completely messed up to have some people on unlimited and others on something that low though! Very unfair.
That's quite generous for that to be the minimum (when comparing it to US policies)! Is the 15-minimum something in place by the government?
Yes the annual and sick leave is government-mandated for all formal employment other than freelancers. It’s definitely more generous than the US but in no way enough. People are TIRED by the time they take time off at the end of the year 😊
London SaaS company - we have 25 days PTO but offer another 5 to parents and carers and we also have another 5 as “work from anywhere”, basically a week when you can work only 3 hrs per day so you can travel to see family.A minimum of 25 days PTO is standard in London tech, and many companies do a little over that either to reward long term employees or just as a standard.National holidays are on top of this always as are 10 sick days which people can take anytime with no approval needed as long as it’s not more than 3 consecutive days.US policies seem... well, just depressing from the outside TBH. We expect people to take their full holiday, we encourage them to take holidays, and they can normally carry over 5 days from year to year which people sometimes do if they want to plan an extra long holiday such as honey moon, 3 weeks of global touring, etc.
South Africa here. I work freelance so I don’t get paid for days off but the standard is 15 working days (3 weeks) which is absolutely not enough in my opinion. In my own company, we plan to have UTO with a minimum of 20 working days (4 weeks, scheduled in advance to ensure coverage) and probably a 4 or 4 and a half day work week, plus National Holidays. I think it’s important to ensure that employees can take time off whenever they need to without being pressured to ‘save’ days! But the company I work for has also noticed if they don’t enforce a minimum for their permanent staff, people don’t take enough.
That's interesting! I've seen articles of people not taking enough time off when there's no minimum so I wonder what affects this has on unlimited PTO cases!