So, You Want Unlimited PTO, Huh?

Cartoon man relaxing in office chair, dreaming of vacation

You just interviewed at the coolest place. They wear jeans to work, have dogs in the office, and they offer unlimited paid time off (cue the angels singing). Anyone would agree that this seems like an awesome place to work. But, before you start daydreaming about month-long trips to Europe, consider these factors that play into unlimited PTO.

1) Are your coworkers responsible enough to hold themselves accountable for their work? Or, will you be the one picking up Donna’s slack while she’s in Hawaii for the fifth time this year (and it’s only March). Unfinished projects have to go to someone, after all.

2) Is this policy true unlimited PTO, or will your manager shut down most of the requests you put in? As with any time off request, unlimited PTO days can be rejected. Suddenly your plan to swim with dolphins for all of April is just a short-lived dream.

3) Is the company trying to make up for a lack of standard benefits or low salary by offering uncapped vacation days? A study shows that even with unlimited PTO, people tend to use the same amount of days as before the policy change. So, if it’s meant to compensate for awful health insurance, it might not be that great of a compromise.

4) Do you work in an industry where staffing levels matter? Does the team suffer if someone unexpectedly calls out? If so, you might not have much freedom at all when scheduling your days. Sure, there’s no cap, but if you can only have every fifth Tuesday off that doesn’t make for much of a vacation.

5) Would you feel guilty taking advantage of this policy? If you took more than the standard amount of days, would you be paranoid that people are judging you? If you can’t responsibly take advantage of uncapped days, then there’s really no advantage to it at all.

Did any of those concern you? If not, then maybe you hit the jackpot. Only 1% of companies offer unlimited PTO and you found the one that also makes it easy to use. You probably also succeed at ‘Where’s Waldo’ and word searches – you know how to find the good stuff. So, enjoy! Take a trip, stay home to watch Law & Order –use those days when you want. As for the rest of us, we’ll be planning our days wisely and passive aggressively liking your Instagram travel pics.

One comment

  1. “Not really leading by example there,” says Boston Magazine ‘s Randall. The people offered unlimited vacation are the least likely to use it Unlimited vacation policies won’t work for every business, and it’s very likely that “the firms that offer unlimited vacation do so because they’re confident their employees won’t choose to take much time off,” says Matthew Yglesias at Slate.

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