Workers may not expect unlimited vacation — providing some personal days, though, can enhance your value proposition.

Are You Offering a Competitive PTO Policy? - Talent IntelligenceIt’s clear paid time off matters to employees; surveys have shown it’s a strategic consideration when accepting a job.

Sixty-three percent of workers, for instance, said in one survey that they wouldn’t even contemplate taking a job that offers fewer than 15 days of paid vacation. A WorldatWork study found 88 percent of organizations believe offering some type of paid time off is necessary to be competitive in the job market.

The specific details a PTO program entails, however, can determine whether or not it resonates with employees and positively affects recruiting and retention — or sparks engagement and other issues.

If you’re not sure how your PTO policy stacks up, you may want to take the following points into consideration:

Most employers have some  PTO boundaries

Although it may seem like there’s been a lot of publicity in recent years about companies offering unlimited time off, in reality, only three percent actually do, according to Mercer data.

Generally, the amount of paid time off employers provide can vary. Regionally, though, Brazil, Germany, Spain, Finland and France, which offer an average of 30 PTO days, topped Expedia’s list of countries where employees receive — and use — the most paid vacation days.

Companies are supplying more than just paid vacation time

The majority of employers — 64 percent — offer a system with separate vacation, personal and/or sick leave time, according to a survey conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. Bereavement leave is treated separately by 83 percent of employers; only 12 percent offer it as part of their overall PTO policy.

Increasingly, sick leave doesn’t always have to center on an employee — or even sickness. A growing number of employers are letting workers use their sick days to care for an ill family member or take care of a non-health issue, according to Mercer data.

Maternity leave, too, is offered by a number of employers. Within countries and organizations that provide it, generally, the timeframe ranges from 14 weeks to 52 or more, according to World Policy Analysis Center research. (For more information on how it’s handled in various countries, read our blog post on maternity leave.)

Vacation_TimeLongevity can affect PTO

WorldatWork found tenure often dictates how many PTO days employees receive. Its report noted the amount of personal days companies offer typically increases by a day after about the third year an employee has worked for an organization.

Studies have shown giving employees paid time off may enhance their performance in the workplace. Roughly 60 percent say they feel more or completely recharged after a vacation; 48 percent return to work feeling more rested, according to a Virgin Pulse survey, and 26 percent say they’re more productive.

For additional suggestions on crafting an effective PTO policy, view our blog posts on four reasons why you really need to start encouraging employees to take paid vacation days; tips on accommodating time off requests during the holiday season —  and ways your company can make sure it’s allowing workers to disconnect when they’re away from the office.