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5. How much PTO should you offer your staff?


Posted by Damien on Oct 20, 2016

This is a post in the continuing series about 10 things to know when creating a PTO policy.

Perhaps if you’re not a fan of these new-fangled unlimited time off policies and you’re unsure about how much PTO to offer your staff, you might like to take a look at some nation-wide averages.

To arrive at your final answer though, you’ll also need to consider additional factors such as how competitive your industry is for finding and retaining top talent.

A majority of companies (around 90%)1 decide to allocate the amount of vacation PTO based on length of tenure. This is a great way to encourage employee retention.

On average staff members using a “PTO bank” receive the following increases in PTO allowances per year as length of service increases2 :

Tenure (years) PTO (days)
< 1 13
1 15
2 15
3 16
4 17
5 - 9 20
10 - 19 24
> 20 26

For companies that choose to award a consistent amount of PTO across the board, and not an allocation based on length of tenure, the average allocation for “Traditional PTO” type policies is 16 days vacation leave, plus 11 paid sick days, and 4 paid personal days, plus the 10 federal holidays.

For companies that choose to make use of a “PTO Bank” also employing a “flat” allocation without provision for tenure, the average allocation is 18 days (to use for vacation, sick, and personal leave) plus the 10 federal holidays.

Given these averages, you should consider adding more, or less time off depending on how attractive your PTO allowance should be, as compared to your company’s ability to attract and retain talented staff due to other factors.

  1. SHRM - Paid Leave Survey 2016 Page 4 

  2. Ibid. Page 13 

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