Is Unlimited PTO A Good Idea?

September 27

One of the key factors employees are looking at when applying for a new job (or when they’re weighing the pros and cons of their current job) is PTO. Offering unlimited PTO has been a tactic used to acquire new talent. Though it’s not extremely common yet, it certainly catches the eye of job seekers!


So how exactly does unlimited PTO work? 


When you’re giving your employees the unlimited PTO benefit, it means you aren’t assigning a specific amount of vacation time they have available. This means that they don’t have to worry about making up sick days or extra hours for a doctor's appointment. It’s a true representation of work-life balance. We get it, life happens sometimes! 


This freedom doesn’t mean “I’ll work a week, then take 3 weeks off, then work another week, and then 3 more off”. That’s not what we’re discussing here. Having unlimited PTO is just a way to say “we value your hard work, and we know you’re more than just our employee”. After all, you want your employees to love where they work, right?!


That being said, we aren’t totally dissing those with structured PTO policies. Unlimited PTO doesn’t work for every agency. It has to work within budget and productivity levels. This is why we stress the importance of time tracking so much. Are your employees being utilized correctly? Are they getting their work done in a timely manner? These are factors to take into account when coming up with your PTO strategy. 


Let’s break down some advantages and disadvantages of unlimited PTO:



  • More efficient time management
    • You may find that your employees are working more efficiently and productively. When they know that option of “once your work is done, you can be done” instead of staring at their screen the last hour of the day to hit hour 40, you’d be amazed at how much quicker work gets done (while keeping the same quality)!
  • Work-life balance
    • By allowing your employees the opportunity to get their work done more efficiently to leave an hour earlier with no penalty, you’re creating a more welcoming work environment. This structure can help you and your team prevent burnout. It helps show that you truly value their time and you see them as more than just a number in the system. When your employees don’t have to stress about squeezing in an appointment from 5:00 - 5:30 pm to be outside of work hours, it frees up time for them to live their lives outside of the office!
  • No December urgency
    • Companies that implement a PTO plan that doesn’t allow PTO to accrue year after year run into problems where half of their office is out during the last few holiday weeks of the year when people feel rushed to burn out the last of their PTO days left before they reset. By having an unlimited plan, your employees can strategize their time off around others and spread them out, instead of leaving you spread thin all at once.



  • Fear of abuse
    • There are measures you can put into place to subtly monitor PTO to make sure it doesn’t get abused. If you notice an employee taking advantage of the system, you can address that separately. Here at Upsourced we have an unlimited PTO plan, and we have yet to run into any kinds of issues of employees abusing this plan. 
  • Absent coworkers
    • Unlimited PTO is not giving employees the pass to not show up to work that day because they don’t feel like it. It’s not a free-for-all-day-by-day decision, you still have to take the proper measures in requesting days off and getting them approved. When you have set PTO days or sick days, you’re more at risk of employees doing this. The good news is, when people don’t feel well, instead of using up a sick day, most people work remotely on those days now. 
  • Too many off at once
    • As we mentioned previously in the December urgency point, you risk running into everyone taking their PTO at the same time when it’s limited. You’ll hit your summer vacation rush and your holiday rush. This can complicate your internal strategy and cause more stress in the office. 


Unlimited PTO seems like a more daunting plan to put into place than it really is. Trying to find an additional way to improve your company culture? Find out if this type of structure would work for you! We can help!

Interested in working together?