What is Your PTO Policy?

Although there are no federal guidelines requiring employers to provide vacation days, it’s a common and necessary business practice to attract and retain top talent. The top three criteria top talent is looking for in selecting their next employer is total compensation (salary, health insurance, 401K match), personal and professional development (PURPOSE), and work/life balance (Paid Time Off – PTO). While some employers still use the traditional system of vacation and sick days, most have switch to PTO where an employee can use the time for whatever he/she wants. The typical approach in our market is for employees to accrue hours of paid vacation time at a certain rate for each day worked. Different employers use different formulas to calculate PTO. Generally speaking, the amount of PTO correlates to the length of service and level in the organization.

PTO typically includes bereavement, parental leave, short-or long-term disability, and holiday pay. Bereavement time is typically three days for immediate family, although exceptions can be made for others. Parental leave is taken by a new parent when a baby is born or adopted. The average leave is eight to 12 weeks. However, it seems 50 percent of employers pay for the parental leave time. Disability sometimes falls under the parental leave. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, an employee is entitled to unpaid medical leave up to 12 weeks if needed. Finally, holiday pay usually includes 10 federally recognized holidays.

Extremely progressive organizations have even moved to an unlimited vacation policy where peers set the boundaries. I’ve heard people who don’t take breaks don’t seem to change their habits even when those around them take frequent vacations. On the flip side, those who do take frequent time off don’t seem to tone it down when they are in the presence of non-vacationers.

What is your PTO policy for the first year? 5 days? 10 days? 15 days?


Chris Carlson, Managing Director
Chris is an experienced executive in the staffing industry. She has developed operational analyses, implemented programs /compensation plans, and has assisted hundreds of firms streamline processes and upgrade the competencies of their workforce. Finding innovative ways to generate new business, isolate top talent, and build teams is her passion. She has designed and executed many successful strategic marketing /recruiting plans and promotions. Chris began her career at Aureus Group, a full-service professional recruiting firm, in 1994 and currently serves as the Managing Director of Aureus Group specializing in the Finance and Accounting, Information Systems, and Executive Leadership roles in all industries including; Healthcare Administration, Banking, Finance, Insurance, Commercial Services, and Manufacturing.

In addition, Chris is a Certified Professional Consultant, and has an Executive Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *