Unlimited PTO — Which companies offer it, and is it even worth it?

A ton of companies are now offering their employees “unlimited paid time off”, but what does “unlimited” PTO actually mean in practise and how does it compare with “flexible PTO”?

Phil from 4 day week

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Unlimited paid time off… seems to good to be true? In this post we’ll do a deep dive on this new employee benefits by discussing what it actually means, how it compares with flexible paid time off as well as listing some companies which offer this benefit. But first, let’s cover the basics…

How does Unlimited PTO work?

If a company offers unlimited paid time off (PTO), it means that employees can “take as much time off as and when they need it, whilst also getting paid for their time off”.

In practise however, there are some unwritten rules about unlimited PTO. For example, you can’t book the whole year off and expect to get away with it. Unlimited PTO should probably be renamed:

Unlimited paid time off, within reason.

Most unlimited PTO policies require that employees must avoid “abusing the system by taking time off that negatively impacts their job and the company.” As long as you are getting the work done and hitting your deadlines, there shouldn’t be an issue about using your unlimited PTO”.

Checkr is one company which offers this perk and they describe it as:

Team members can take the time they need, when they need it — there is no need to ask for permission or keep track of days taken.

So a large part of unlimited PTO is flexibility about when time off can be booked, and not just how much time can be taken off. At Leena the process is as follows:

The leave application process is one that is based on an approval system. Our employees formally email their managers about the required number of days they intend to go on leave and the manager, or the HR personnel sends their approval as confirmation. We try not to put a bracket on our employees in the context of taking a leave of absence. This is because we want to eliminate the added stress of taking vacation days or carrying them forward to the next year, or even rationing their vacation days and planning around it. We have given our employees the flexibility to take leaves whenever…

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