Unlimited PTO and Culture

For many of the most competitive organizations, unrestricted PTO is a rapidly expanding trend. A company’s time off policy may have a bearing on the level of office productivity. In this day and age of high stress, burnout, and attrition, employees must strike the correct balance between job obligations and personal activities. Many firms offer unlimited paid time off (PTO) to show they support employees having a balance between their personal and professional lives.

July 2023

Dejannae Lang

I/O Practitioner


A performance-based culture can reap the benefits of unlimited vacation time, as productive workers who consistently achieve their goals will be in a prime position to take advantage of this incentive.

For companies, there are significant benefits to providing employees with unrestricted vacation time, as it can reduce costs for businesses. Assuming a maximum annual leave allotment, many companies must reimburse employees for unused vacation time at year’s end (or the end of employment, in some cases). When employees have access to limitless PTO, there is no need to compensate them for unused time off.

Regarding HR and bureaucracy, with unlimited PTO, while a procedure for approving time off should still be in place, HR departments will not be burdened with tracking and enforcing hours taken and hourly restrictions of each category.

For employees, limitless vacation is a benefit based on trust in the employees and respect for their work-home life balance. PTO boosts employees’ spirits and acknowledges them as valued individuals for the company, boosting their productivity and overall health. Companies can not just look progressive but act to benefit their employees by adopting employee-focused benefits in step with the times, which can help them attract and retain top people. In this way, employees are likelier to feel appreciated by their company. It’s less probable that “everyone in marketing has the flu” will occur if sick workers remain home and take sick days without the penalty or constriction of a limited number of leave days.


According to Forbes, a survey by Glassdoor reports that only 25% of Americans use all their vacation days. Moreover, 42% of respondents with unlimited PTO policies “always” check their work email while on vacation.

The execution of the unlimited PTO policy and other aspects of business culture are the main points of criticism. Suppose the policy is implemented hastily, for instance. In that case, upper-level managers and executives may worry about its potential adverse effects (imagine your commission-based employee being worried that they won’t make their quota because account executives or prospects are taking time off). It is possible to avoid the following drawbacks if data is used and the connection is made as to why the policy is occurring.

While limitless paid time off may sound great in theory, it can be abused if employees don’t feel accountable for their time off. To make up for lost time, you may have to take on extra responsibility if a coworker or coworkers take longer time off than is reasonable. On an individual level, employees may avoid taking time off when they know that the “job needs to get done” and the amount of stress after returning from vacation will be too overwhelming.

Despite the theoretical possibility of an infinite amount of vacation time, the reality often falls short of employees’ expectations. A good example is the stress that can build up if an employee isn’t sure how much vacation time they have or when they can take it. The risk of burnout is high when a benefit is supposed to encourage employee agency and dispel stereotypes about the United States as a place where people never take a vacation.

Effects on Culture

To help employees feel more comfortable using their unlimited PTO, supervisors should have open and honest dialogues with them and provide support.

A culture allowing unlimited PTO cannot punish employees who utilize this time off. Therefore, employees should not be evaluated based on the number of hours they spend in the office (an arbitrary statistic) but rather on the results they provide. This will encourage goal-oriented attitudes, promote employees’ mental and physical well-being, and increase productivity and inventiveness to complete tasks more quickly and efficiently.

Regarding recruitment, presenting the benefit of unlimited PTO promotes a culture of trust within the company. Suppose the company culture and working conditions are known for being open, supportive, collaborative, and free of excessive bureaucracy. In that case, attracting and retaining talented new personnel will be easier.

Seekers note that a Harris Poll of 2,000 workers for Fortune found that “…50% of workers in the U.S. would choose access to limitless PTO over earning a higher salary.”

Workzinga’s founder, Dan Hunter, understands the value of creating a culture based on trust and care for the people. Employees are the heart and soul of every corporation; their bodies in the seats and overall satisfaction directly impact a company’s income. Workplace culture is fundamental.

The Culture Alignment Assessment helps you hire for today. Based on 26 objective parameters, this pre-employment evaluation determines the degree of alignment between a company and an applicant! Before we begin working together, we all need to learn more about one another. Schedule a demo to see how this hiring tool can assist you in hiring with employee well-being in mind and achieving the desired effect within your firm.

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