5 Ways to Boost Your Company’s PTO Policy That Isn’t Offering Unlimited PTO

For American workers, taking PTO is a problem. So, HR teams are trying to find a more effective solution that encourages employees to take time off. Many HR teams quickly jump to an unlimited PTO model because they think it’ll encourage employees to take more PTO. However, that’s not the case. With an unlimited PTO policy, employees take less time off because they feel pressured to work more, leading to higher stress levels and burnout. But, there are some adjustments you can make to your PTO policy to ensure your employees are taking the breaks they deserve.

Offer a Reasonable Number of PTO Days

A common challenge around taking PTO is needing more days off. Between weddings, family vacations, and the holidays, the typical 10 days of PTO just don’t cover it. On the contrary, if you offer too many days, your employees will be left with unused days of PTO at the end of the year. To combat this, HR leaders need to determine a “sweet spot” of PTO days—enough days where employees genuinely feel like they are taking a break but not too many where days will go to waste by the end of the year (a dilemma for employees who have “use-it-or-lose-it” PTO policies). 

Establish Time Off Minimums

To encourage your employees to take more PTO, establish time off minimums. In other words, company-wide guidance for how many days your employees should take off. If employees are anxious about taking time off, this guidance can help relieve their anxiety. However, for this policy to work successfully, managers must set an example and take the minimum number of days off. Time off minimums and company-sanctioned vacations are examples of mandated PTO strategies that companies use to encourage their employees to step back from work and take a break.

Coordinated Company Vacations 

Another type of mandated PTO you can offer is coordinated company vacations. These are often week-long shutdowns that companies provide to employees to force them to unplug from work. They can happen annually or biannually, depending on the fiscal year set up. A common time for company-wide PTO is during the summer and the holidays. Several companies like LinkedIn and Mozilla offer this perk to their employees. 

Encourage Employees to Set Goals Around Unplugging

While employee goals are typically around launching game-changing programs, getting promoted, or getting a raise, encourage your employees to make a goal around taking time off—especially if they are guilty of not using all their PTO! Managers can incorporate this in performance reviews or one-on-one check-ins and keep employees accountable throughout the year to ensure they take enough PTO. A simple goal like “I’d like to take X number of days of PTO this year” can be helpful for employees to build more of a work-life balance.  

Create Inclusive PTO Options That Meet the Diverse Needs of Your Workforce

Not all PTO policies are created equal. And as workforces are becoming more diverse, so do your PTO options. Features like floating days or holidays can give your employees more flexibility to take time off in a way that suits them and their lifestyles. For example, floating days can support mental health and wellness breaks, volunteering, or if your employees need an extra cushion to accommodate unexpected events. 

Another inclusive PTO option is to offer flexible benefits. Flexible benefits, like PTO, allow your employees to build custom benefits packages by unlocking the full power of their unused PTO. For example, if your employees have extra time off, they can convert the value of that time off into benefits that matter most to them, such as financial wellness, travel, and philanthropy. 

No matter how you approach your PTO program, involve your employees in the planning process to create a PTO policy that benefits everyone. Your employees deserve a PTO policy encouraging them to take the much-needed breaks they deserve. Learn how PTO Exchange can help your employees make their unused PTO work for them

Published on Apr 06, 2023 by Josh Reinhard

Subscribe to blog updates

Discover The Real Story Behind Unlimited PTO 

Unlimited PTO might not be as amazing as many HR executives make it out to be. Find out more with this research report conducted by Lighthouse Research and Advisory.