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What Is Personal Time Off (PTO)?

a photo of a happy family taking personal time off

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Personal time off, if it is paid, is synonymous with “paid time off” or “PTO“. In simplest terms, personal time off is simply time off from work. With a PTO system, employees accrue personal time off that can be used for either vacation or sick leave. It’s an alernative to giving all employees an arbitrary number of days off.

Why Offer Employees Personal Time Off?

Some employers who prefer personal time off do so because their employees rarely get sick enough to stay home. Those employees end up losing their sick days instead of using them, and that can decrease employee morale. By replacing sick days with PTO, employee morale is boosted and performance is increased.  Employers also like PTO because it gives them more control over unscheduled absences, and they can easily use an absence management system to keep track of who will be at work and who won’t. Employees like PTO because it allows for more flexibility when using their personal time off.

Drawbacks of Offering PTO

Sometimes employers who offer PTO instead of sick days or vacation days notice that employees will be unwilling to use their PTO days when they’re ill. Those employees try to save all their personal time off and use it for vacation, but still come in to work when they are sick and feverish–spreading their germs to other workers and customers. Employees need to know that if they are too sick to work, they should be staying home and using their PTO.  This ends up hurting companies in the long run because it decreases employee productivity. Plus, if your customers are all sick, who is coming in to buy your product?

Benefits of Offering PTO

A company might want to use PTO if they are looking to attract top-tier employees. In other words, PTO can be a good draw for applicants. It is often easier to administer and accrue automatically within a scheduling system. The personal time off system can also offer respect for cultural diversity. Many different cultures and religions have different holidays, and employees may want to stay with their family on those days. PTO allows them the flexibility to take those days off, which will make staff members feel appreciated and ultimately boost employee morale.

How to Simplify Personal Time Off Tracking

TimeForge Attendance can simplify PTO tracking by storing your PTO rules. Then, when you export payroll, the system will show you how much PTO each employee has accrued during that pay period, how much was used, and what the new total is. You’ll also be able to view totals by request type and employee. You can also see all of the details for all of the calculations for that pay period. As part of the payroll process, you’ll approve the accrued PTO or sick/vacation hours and be able to make adjustments or changes as needed. This will help you save hours because TimeForge will do all of the calculations for you.


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