Why you should take your PTO instead of cashing it out

PTO - Why you should take PTO and not cash it out

People are paying more and more attention to how their work affects their health. They want a healthier work-life balance that includes more paid time off (PTO) and are willing to change jobs to get paid sick days and more vacation time.

As a result, companies are reviewing their time off and vacation policies. While some offer more, roughly half of America’s workers don’t use all of their free time. And that happened long before the pandemic hit.

Not taking time off from work is a problem. This can lead to a toxic workplace where you are burnt out, stressed, anxious, irritable, and unhappy.

You’ve been working hard to earn your PTO and it’s time to start using it! This is good for you, your health and your career.

What is paid time off (PTO)?

Paid time off refers to scheduled time away from work while you are still receiving pay. Your employee handbook or contract will tell you how many hours you have and how that time is earned or credited. This may depend on how long you have been with the company, your position, and so on.

It used to be common for companies to offer both paid vacation and paid vacation separately, but some have moved to a flexible setup that includes all-in-one. Others study unlimited PTO, where whatever you feel the need to take a vacation off of is up to you.

Because it is not required by law, minimum wage, part-time work, freelance work, and contract work may not have paid days off.

Paid Vacation Examples

The offers of each company may vary, but in some cases you must be paid for your time off work. This may include:

  • federal holidays
  • Vacation
  • sick time
  • sick leave
  • Jury
  • Loss
  • Holiday to care for the child
  • military duty
  • Voting time
  • sabbatical
  • Professional Development
  • care leave
  • Discretionary days
  • Personal vacation

What is vacation time?

Your vacation time is the number of vacation hours or days that you can take out of your regular work schedule. Companies usually try to offer paid and unpaid leave to their employees.

Two weeks (10 days) of paid vacation per year is the typical standard in the US and Canada. This amount usually increases the longer you stay with the company.

What is the difference between PTO and vacation time?

PTO and vacation time are often used interchangeably, but they are two different types of vacation your employer may offer. What you get depends on the structure of the company. They might have a comprehensive PTO policy where you get a bank of hours to use as needed, or they might set aside a certain number of hours to use specifically for things like vacation, sick leave, or personal days.

How about unlimited paid vacation?

Unlimited time off is another benefit that some employers have begun to offer. This trust-based structure allows people to take vacations when they need to. However, there is no limit to the number of days an employee can take. Your employer expects you to be honest about the time you need without abusing the system.

After several years of service, some companies offer it to their employees, while others offer it to everyone.

Unlimited paid vacation is a huge advantage when a company wants to hire new talent, but it’s not always as great as it sounds. You will still need to complete your work and obtain a leave permit. If your manager or corporate culture generally discourages time off, they may deny your request and you may receive less paid time off.

Americans don’t take their PTO

While one study found that 92% of Americans were unable to take vacation due to the pandemic, eligible employees did not use their paid vacation long before the pandemic struck.

A 2018 study by the US Travel Association, Oxford Economics and Ipsos found: “55% of Americans reported unused vacation days — up from 52% a year earlier.”

These statistics are consistent with other similar studies. According to surveys conducted by Glassdoor, in 2014 they found that only 51% of Americans used their vacation, compared to only 54% in 2016.

Why don’t people use their PTO?

There are many reasons why people don’t take paid vacations.

Some are hesitant to take a vacation because their managers don’t support it. They are afraid of what this could do to their reputation and chances of promotion.

Others fear resentment or retribution from colleagues. They feel guilty if someone stays to cover their workload and are under pressure not to miss work. If no one can cover for them, they won’t want to go back to a pile of unfinished work and unanswered emails.

There are also labor martyrs and workaholics who are so passionate about their careers that they don’t see a purpose or feel valued if they don’t work.

Despite the restrictions caused by the pandemic, many people do not use their vacation days because they cannot afford to travel. Instead of taking the vacation they deserve, they continue to work and their paid vacation days are wasted.

If they can’t keep or extend that time, or get paid for it, anyone who doesn’t use paid leave is essentially working for free.

Why do you need free time

The time spent away from work will do you good. It benefits your career, personal life, and overall mental and physical health.

Humans are not made for constant work. You need downtime to balance your activity and recharge. Without rest, you exhaust yourself physically and emotionally. Your work productivity declines, and with it, job satisfaction.

Many undesirable physical side effects can also occur due to not taking a break from work. This can include pain, insomnia, weight gain, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, compromised immunity, alcohol and substance abuse, and reduced overall life expectancy.

When you feel frazzled at work, you bring that stress and negativity home. It’s easy to get stuck in a harmful cycle where you never switch off and enjoy life.

According to a 2016 study by Project: Time Off, vacation reduces stress levels and increases productivity and creativity, which can increase your chances of a promotion or a bonus.

No rule says you can only use vacation days for travel! Go hiking. Spend a day at the beach. Or use this time to work on personal projects, spend time with friends and family, or do something else that you keep putting off because you “don’t have time.” You have time and you will be paid for it, so why not use it?

What happens to my unused paid vacation?

You will need to contact your employer’s human resources department to determine what will happen to any unused PTO you have accumulated.

Some companies allow you to reschedule all of your time, while others limit it to a certain number of days per year. You would have lost something else. Some companies have a “use it or lose it” policy whereby you cannot cash out or roll over unused time (which is illegal in Canada).

Other companies will pay out any remaining PTO, but this is more common when you leave a company after being laid off.

Employers should encourage PTO

Employers can also take advantage of giving their employees paid leave.

When it comes to hiring, job seekers want to work somewhere to develop their skills and achieve their professional and personal goals. An attractive PTO policy will attract qualified candidates and reduce employee turnover, as employees will have time to pursue their interests outside of work.

Providing as many PTOs as possible improves the overall working environment in many ways, including:

  • Eliminate burnout
  • Improving morale in the office
  • Creating a trust-based work environment
  • Giving employees more time for family and personal time
  • Reducing Errors and Mistakes
  • Helping managers plan projects and tasks ahead of time
  • Reducing the need to look for coverage at the last minute
  • Allowing employees to stay home when they are sick

Happy, well-rested employees are much more productive and enjoyable to be around. This can help strengthen business relationships, which will lead to more customers or clients and increase the profits of the business.

Similarly, according to a 2003 study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, employee pain costs employers an estimated $61.2 billion a year, while presentism (when employees come to work but accomplish little) costs them more. more than 150 billion dollars a year.

This loss of productivity is about three times greater than that caused by absenteeism. In other words, companies cost less if their employees stay at home than if they show up sick or unwell.

If that doesn’t incentivize businesses to offer more paid holidays, what will?

This post originally appeared on Savoteur.

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