Is Your PTO Competitive?

Ask a Recruiter - Employer Q&A

Ask a Recruiter

Q: We got feedback from a candidate that our paid time off (PTO) isn’t competitive. What should we be offering in this market?

A: While there are not legal requirements to offer PTO, it is one of the top benefits that candidates consider when looking at an offer. We’ve seen several great companies lose candidates because their PTO wasn’t competitive or was substantially lower than what the candidate was currently entitled to.  

Whether your PTO is considered competitive is going to depend on a number of factors, including company size, level of the role you’re hiring for, and geographic location. Generally, 10 days of vacation time is average in the US, although this does not include paid holidays or sick days.  

We often advise clients to look at their PTO package as a key recruitment and retention strategy, although we understand that different businesses have different constraints. Generally, we recommend offering at least 15 days of PTO to be competitive.  

Other things to consider:  

🤔 We don’t love the idea of unlimited PTO. While this benefit seems great on its face, without a work culture that encourages employees to take time off, employees at companies with this benefit often take less time off. A newer idea is a minimum required amount of time off — although we haven’t seen many clients roll this out yet.  

🤔 Packages that limit a new employee’s time off until they’ve hit a certain level of tenure (usually a year) are a turnoff to most potential employees

🤔 Most companies combine PTO banks (vacation, holiday, sick time), which can decrease unscheduled absences by up to 20%. 

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