Providing a competitive PTO package not only makes your organization more appealing to top talent, it also boosts morale and productivity across your workforce. 

In the face of growing fears of employee “burnout”, some companies are introducing monthly mental health days for their workforce. Going one step beyond lunchtime yoga sessions, these companies now require employees not only to take this day off work, but also to stay away from emails, phone calls, and conference room software for its entirety – focusing instead on self-care. 

Employees are demanding, and receiving, paid time off 

As wild as this sounds, initiatives of this kind are at the crest of the wave. In the aftermath of 2020 and the Great Resignation, workers are increasingly demanding that employers respect their need for meaningful lives outside work, and employers are listening. According to 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Zippia, and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), private sector US employers offer on average 11 paid vacation days and 7 paid sick days per year, after one year’s service. While the U.S. has long been behind other nations in providing PTO, increases in promoting the use of these days for mental health purposes is happening across the globe. Your organization’s continued success hinges on keeping up with and – ideally – overtaking these averages! 

PTO boosts employee performance 

As we probably don’t need to tell you, the greatest asset any organization has is its talented workforce – at all levels of the organization. Offering appropriate levels of time off plays a central role in nurturing and preserving this talent. Research consistently reinforces the benefits of taking time off for employee productivity – from boosting creativity to improving concentration – and, most crucially, avoiding burnout. This increase in performance also promotes job satisfaction and can help improve your retention of key talent. 

PTO is central to recruitment 

A more fundamental existential issue at stake is that if your organization does not offer reasonable paid leave, people may not want to work for you in the first place. 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. If you want to avoid both recruitment and retention problems, competitive PTO packages are essential. 

Separating PTO from other forms of necessary leave 

Competitive levels of vacation days are appealing, but not if they come at the expense of something more fundamental – like personal, or sick leave pay.  

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. A growing number of employers also let workers use their sick days to care for ill family members or deal with non-health issues, according to Mercer data. 

Research by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found 40 percent of employers offered separate paid parental leave, with 18 percent offering it as a part of PTO. This compared to just 29 percent that offered no paid parental leave and nine percent that did not but were considering it. (For more information, read our blog post on maternity leave around the globe.) 

More resources for making the most of your PTO policy 

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.