Unlimited PTO – A Friend of Foe? Expert Weighs In

Unlimited paid time off (PTO) is an increasingly popular employee benefit, and for a good reason – it can help attract and retain top talent, boost employee morale, and improve work-life balance, despite challenges in implementing the perk.

The Human Resources (HR) data platform Namely found that more than 34% of companies surveyed offer unlimited PTO. But that unlimited PTO can be a duel-edged sword. According to Gene Marks, owner of The Marks Group and contributor, one of the key considerations when offering unlimited PTO is to ensure that it is communicated clearly and consistently. Employees must understand the expectations around time off and how to request it. This can be achieved through clear policies and procedures, regular communication, and training for managers on handling requests and ensuring that work is covered.

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Marks adds that another important factor to consider is how unlimited PTO will affect the company's workload and productivity. While unlimited PTO can greatly benefit employees, it can also lead to reduced productivity and increased workload for those who remain at work. To avoid this, Marks says, it's important to set clear expectations around how work will be covered and how employees can request time off without negatively impacting their colleagues.

It's also vital to consider the potential financial implications of unlimited PTO, Marks concludes. Employers need to budget for paying employees for their time off and ensure that it doesn't negatively impact the bottom line. This can be achieved through careful planning and budgeting, as well as by offering other benefits that can offset the cost of unlimited PTO, such as wellness programs or professional development opportunities.

Finally, in Marks' view, it's important to guarantee that unlimited PTO is offered fairly and consistently across the organization. This means ensuring that all employees have equal access to the benefit and that it is not used as a way to discriminate against certain employees or groups.