Mid-Market HR Technology Leader Studied PTO Trends Across 1,000 Companies
With summer vacations on the minds of most workers, Namely, the leading HR platform for mid-sized companies, reexamined its popular paid time off research. Having investigated limited versus unlimited PTO trends across a subset of its clients – 1,000 companies – Namely saw changes in how these plans are being utilized as pandemic restrictions ease.
Historically, employees earned paid time off based on the number of years of service they had with the company. Under this model, HR and payroll professionals needed to manage time off closely as it involved calculating accruals, carryovers, and forfeitures. Several years ago, companies started touting “unlimited” paid time off, a much-desired employee benefit according to MetLife’s 2020 Employee Benefits Survey. Under the definition of an unlimited plan, employees are permitted to take as much time off as they want, with the expectation that they will continue to get their work done in a timely manner. Popular among start-ups and high-growth organizations competing for talent, unlimited PTO puts control in the hands of the employee, giving them flexibility and entrusting them to manage their time effectively.
In 2018, Namely examined the use of PTO days across its client roster and found the average days taken by employees had surprising outcomes: those with unlimited PTO took 13 days off yearly compared to those with traditional limited time off plans, who took 15 days. In its 2022 research, however, Namely uncovered that those employees with unlimited plans now averaged 12.09 days per year versus only 11.36 days for employees for limited plans.
Not only has the trend flipped, but employees seem to be taking off less time overall, and the variance between unlimited and limited PTO has diminished significantly. This is a particular concern given work-life balance, one that is leading some employers to offer unlimited PTO with a minimum requirement to take two weeks off each year.
Amy Roy, Namely’s Chief People Officer, commented, “Since we last conducted this poll, the number of companies offering unlimited paid time off has increased to 34.5 percent. Clearly, unlimited PTO has gained credibility as an employee benefit, but to what end? Regardless of their company’s plan, workers seem to be taking less time off.”
She continued, “There’s no doubt that the continued uncertainties created by the global pandemic, economic indicators, and political unrest are impacting the American workforce. Researchers say that more than 212 million vacation days get forfeited annually. Employers concerned about the wellbeing and retention of their workers encourage the use of paid time off, as it gives employees the chance to reset and refresh.”
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