A common "perk" that we see in the workplace is the concept of unlimited paid time off. As companies look to enhance workers to stay or to attract talent this is often a solution. So much so that Microsoft, despite layoffs, is adding this feature to their employee benefit programs. With knowing that many employees who have unlimited PTO take less vacation than those who don't, we've asked the question; is unlimited PTO the answer?
AMID LAYOFFS, MICROSOFT IS MOVING TO UNLIMITED PTO
"Microsoft is ditching its traditional paid vacation policy and moving to an unlimited paid leave policy. The tech giant announced last week that U.S. salaried workers will have unlimited paid time off (PTO) under its new "Discretionary Time Off" policy. The policy went into effect Jan. 16, and it does not apply to hourly workers or employees outside of the U.S. Microsoft has roughly 122,000 U.S. employees, although the firm announced Jan. 18 it is planning to lay off approximately 10,000 workers as part of broader cost-cutting measures due to economic uncertainty. "How, when, and where we do our jobs has dramatically changed" Learn more
IS UNLIMITED PTO "OUT OF TOUCH"
"An unlimited PTO policy makes an employer look empathetic and employee-friendly. It allows workers to decide how many days they want to take off from work. The executives tout that the program offers a better work-life balance. However, there is a downside. If the program is not managed and messaged well, it could backfire. The seemingly easy perk can quickly become problematic. If there is a lack of clarity around taking days off, direct managers may start scoffing at the idea, as they find themselves juggling schedules. If people are both remote and take a large amount of time off, there will be a lack of connectivity to projects and attaining goals. There will be pressure placed on workers not actually to take the company up on its offer. They’ll feel that taking too much time off will hurt their career, annoy co-workers who need to pick up the slack and aggravate supervisors. The result ends up with employees not using the days." Learn more
WHY ARE AMERICANS CAUTIOUS ABOUT UNLIMITED PTO?
"Some can’t wait to take on three little letters with big benefits in their work life — PTO. So much so, it’s something American workers look for during their job search. Veetahl Eilat-Raichel is CEO and co-founder of Sorbet, a PTO platform working to empower people to use their PTO or get that time back in cash.
"Paid time off is always consistently a top-three benefit that people look for when considering to switch a job," Eilat-Raichel said. But most Americans are waiting in vain. Despite the desire for paid time off, she says workers are wary of actually using it. It may have something to do with evolving workplaces.
"Our take is that the transition to working from home really kind of deepened that exact cultural reluctantly around how it would seem and the optics and would people find us less committed," Eilat-Raichel said. She says the pandemic blurred the lines between work and leisure, resulting in worker fatigue. "It really has a lot to do with encouraging and legitimizing people to take this time to care for themselves and invest in their wellness and clearly that’s not top of mind enough," Eilat-Raichel said." Learn more
IS UNLIMITED PTO THE ANSWER?
"A relatively new trend may be key in your employee retention strategy: offering unlimited paid time off to your workforce. Some employers may be nervous about not placing any cap at all on the amount of time your workers can take off work, but a new flexible approach to workforce management may be just your ticket to separate your organization from your competitors. What are the pros and cons to this strategy – and what legal issues do you need to consider before unveiling an unlimited PTO policy of your own?" Learn more