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See how your PTO policy matches up with what employees want.

Your Employees Don't Use Their PTO. Give Them More.

New Data Reveals Which Benefits Employees Value Most

No matter how much you love your job, we all need a break from the daily grind. Americans work hard, but as a culture, we are beginning to place a higher value on work-life balance. With that in mind, creating a highly attractive benefits package that includes enough paid time off (PTO) can be quite the challenge, especially for small businesses. It’s vital to understand what matters most to employees.

A new survey commissioned by TSheets has revealed what 400 employees think about their respective employer’s paid time off policy.*

  • How much PTO do employees typically get?
  • How much do they actually use?
  • Would they prefer more PTO over a raise?

See what employees are saying.

70% of workers did not use all their PTO last year.
600 million days of PTO were unused in 2016.

Are US Employers Giving Workers the PTO They Want?

Most employers grant paid time off. In fact, only 16 percent of respondents said they received no PTO at all last year.

So having a PTO policy seems to be the norm, but what’s the standard number of days allowed? We found that, typically, employers give 11-15 days per year.

Does that figure only sound like dollar signs to you? Turns out, providing a paid time off policy for your employees may not be as expensive as it sounds.

Of the workers who received their PTO, 70 percent did not use all their PTO last year, with 26 percent of them having 10 or more unused days at year’s end. If you look at the total number of employees working in the United States (about 151 million), these numbers imply that employees left 600 million days of PTO unused.

63% of US workers would refuse a job offer without PTO.

Why Aren’t Employees Using All Their PTO?

The answer may not be a surprise. Nearly half of respondents said they were too busy to use their PTO.

Still, 88 percent of respondents said their employers should provide paid time off, and 63 percent would turn down a job offer if it did not include the benefit.

Although most people are getting at least some paid time off, many — about 1 in 3 U.S. workers — say they’d be happier if they had more PTO.

85% of employees say sick leave is important.

PTO Isn’t Just “Free Time,” Employees Want Sick Leave Too

PTO has more value to US employees than just “free time.” Employees are looking for a benefits package that also includes paid holidays and sick leave. Although we found older workers are more likely to want sick leave and personal days, 85 percent of employees said sick leave is still important.

11% of employers offer paid maternity leave.

What About Maternity and Paternity Leave?

So sick leave and paid holidays are high-value benefits. But is there also a great deal of value in providing your employees family leave? Some employers offer maternity leave, but not all offer it in addition to paid time off. Our findings show that about 11 percent of employers offer paid maternity leave in addition to PTO, and around 8 percent offer both maternity and paternity leave in addition to PTO.

But 72 percent of employees say companies should provide maternity leave. And younger workers are more likely to demand maternity and paternity leave. Interested in attracting millennial employees to your business? This figure might be something to consider.

Employees want to hit the road and take vacation for the PTO time off.

So, What Do Your Employees Want to Do With Their Time Off?

… Vacation!

Employees are hitting the road with their PTO. The highest percentage of employees, or 30 percent of respondents polled, said they would take a vacation in the US with their paid time off. Nearly the same number — 28 percent — responded that they’d spend time with family. One in four said they would take a staycation at home and just 5 percent said they would travel abroad.

1 in 5 US workers would accept more time off instead of a raise.

More PTO or Higher Pay? Survey Says Higher Compensation Is Key

Overall, employees want higher compensation in general. When all's said and done, most employees — about 80 percent — would prefer a pay raise to additional PTO. That being said, 62 percent of employees said they’d forgo a raise for a more flexible work schedule. And fortunately for your business, offering a flexible schedule doesn’t cost you anything.


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*Methodology: TSheets commissioned Pollfish to survey 400 U.S. employees in April 2017 about how much paid time off they get, how they use it, and the value they place in it. The respondents were all over the age of 18 and "employed for wages."