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21st Century Trends for PTO

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Time off is ever-present in the mind of employees. Whether it’s the weekend, a rare Monday off, or a paid vacation, taking a break from the office is never a faraway thought. Offering paid time off is a great perk to employees, and one constantly cited as a top workplace benefit. But offering standard PTO may not be enough to recruit and retain the next generation of great employees. Let’s take a look at some 21st-century trends in paid time off.

Trends in PTO

A recent survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans reported that 59% of organizations offer paid time off, and 39% combine personal days, sick days, and vacation into one bank. And while you may be hearing a lot about unlimited vacation time, only 3% of businesses currently offer this policy. 

One of the trends is added flexibility to traditional vacation time. In order to remain competitive in a crowded labor market, businesses need to rethink how these vacation plans can be used in order to meet the demands of a specific workforce. For example, 

  • 2% of organizations let employees donate the cash value of time off to charitable organizations

  • 12% allow for additional PTO to be offered to midcareer hires

  • 16% allow employees to buy additional time off, or sell time they don’t use

  • 24% let employees donate their time off to other employees

  • 69% let employees carry over earned vacation time

Paid floating holidays (a trend Dominion embraced this year!) are another trend that lets employees have more flexibility with their vacation time. They let employees choose their own day throughout the calendar year aside from popular holidays. Employers typically offer a floating holiday if a holiday such as the Fourth of July (as is the case this year) falls on a weekend. One in five organizations offer one floating holiday per year, and 15% offer two. Over 50% of organizations don’t offer floating holidays at all. 

Paid Sick Leave Laws

Creating a bank of general paid time off is still popular, but one of the drawbacks has become highlighted by workers’ rights advocates. Concern is being expressed that a general bank of paid time off causes sick employees to come to work in an effort to save all their paid time off for vacation. Employees with chronic pain or illnesses that cause them to miss work more frequently than other employees might be left with zero days for a well-earned vacation. 

States and cities are passing laws in an effort to right this situation. The goal is to provide public and private-sector employees an amount of paid sick leave per year based on hours worked. A majority of these laws take a general approach to defining “sick leave,” which allows employees to use this earned sick time for mental and physical health. 

Although well-intended, these laws are complicating existing PTO policies as well as managing employee time off. 

Mandating Time Off

Americans are a unique bunch in that over half of working adults don’t use all of their vacation days. Typically, they sight having too much work to do, not being able to trust anyone else to handle their work responsibilities, or not being able to afford a vacation. 

And while this may not seem like a big deal to employers, many organizations find that those who take an extended break from the office come back focused and productive. Mandating time off may not be for everyone, but it does provide a number of benefits:

  • Prevents employee burnout

  • Offers management a time to review

  • Encourages other employees to step up

  • Recruit better talent

There are, of course, drawbacks to mandating time off. One of which is scheduling problems. But if you utilize a robust and customizable time off software, the process of handling scheduling and approval becomes quite simple. 

See how Dominion can streamline your time off processes by requesting a quote below!


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