Your HR & People Operations Questions, AnsweredWhat are the benefits (and downsides) of having an unlimited PTO policy?
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What are the benefits (and downsides) of having an unlimited PTO policy?

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Scott Bailey asked 3 months ago

1 Answer
Jean replied 3 months ago
Hi Scott,

Unlimited PTO can be a great benefit for your employees, but Lora Patterson, Senior People Ops Advisor at Zenefits, recommends you consider its implications to ensure the policy works well for your company. Here are her 5 recommendations:

1. Policy name

When you call a policy unlimited, do you truly mean it’s unlimited? If your company is not able to accommodate large requests for time off, consider renaming the policy to something like “flexible time off”. This lets employees know there is flexibility without saying they can take unlimited paid time off.

2. Expectation management

You likely have employees on both ends of the vacation spectrum: those who are hesitant to take time off and those who will take as much as they can get. Setting an expectation that employees should take an average of X amount of time off per year can help combat this. It’s key to make sure your leaders live out this expectation by taking time off themselves and encouraging their employees to take time off, too.

3. Manager approval

If you make your PTO requests subject to manager approval, managers can determine whether the team will be adequately staffed while an employee is out. You can also consider requiring director approval for large amounts of time off. This can help ensure the policy is fair and all employees get a similar amount of time off.

4. PTO calendar

If your company sets the expectation of how many employees are able to be out on PTO from each team, a calendar allows employees to check whether their desired days off are still available before submitting requests.

5. Family and Medical Leave

If you have a family or medical leave policy in place, or if your employees are subject to a federal or state-mandated leave, make sure this leave also details how PTO will interact.

For more information on this topic, check out the video below!

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