Vacation Policies

There are a variety of approaches to providing paid time off (PTO). Personally, I’ve experienced the following approaches the most:

  1. Accrue as you go, rollover
    • Downside:  This is tough when you start somewhere and need time right away.  You often have to borrow or you are just out of luck.
    • Downside:  Doesn’t always encourage people to take vacation, which then remains on the books for the organization. Plus, I’ve seen people want to take consecutive 3 months off as they’ve accrued that over the years.
    • Upside: The benefit is truly yours, you get paid for your vacation hours as part of your package.
  2. Accrue as you go, capped rollover
    • Downside: If you don’t take the time, you loose the benefit (up to the point of the capped)
    • Upside: Minimizes the downsides of the first one
  3. All immediately available, no rollover
    • Downside: if you don’t take the time, you loose the benefit
    • Downside: if you leave the company, you are not paid for what was immediately available.
    • Downside: Some companies also track accrued, so if you take all available and leave before you accrue, you owe the company money.
    • Upside: You can take time immediately if an emergency arises
  4. No tracking – take what you need when you need
    • Downside: People might not take time appropriately
    • Upside: Ownership is with the individual to take time appropriately
    • Upside: No balance on company book
    • Upside: Reduce cost of tracking
    • Upside: People can take what they need and when they need it

My preference is for 4 hands down. It’s what I have today and I will struggle if and when I ever have to go back to another approach.

Which approach do you prefer?

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  4 comments for “Vacation Policies

  1. Jim Dusseau
    February 4, 2016 at 9:59 am

    With “unlimited” PTO, I’ve been in the situation where it’s unlimited as long as it’s convenient for the company. I had vacations pushed back or denied. Without hard numbers to back up that someone has “earned” vacation, a company may view it as a privilege, rather than a right.

    • Tricia
      February 8, 2016 at 1:44 pm

      I wish I was shocked to learn this but I’m not.

  2. February 8, 2016 at 10:01 am

    I’ve heard of a new one: minimum vacation time. It started as a way of addressing the problems with unlimited vacation time. I’d be willing to try it.

    I don’t think I’d have a problem taking enough vacation with unlimited vacation time, but I’d worry I’d feel guilty and end up either working on vacation or not taking vacation when I would have at a place that accrued. I’d be more than willing to learn how to do that though.

    • Tricia
      February 8, 2016 at 1:45 pm

      Would you mind sharing a few more details on what minimum vacation time means? I can guess but I want to make sure.

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