What is Paid Time Off (PTO)?

Paid Time Off (PTO) is a compensated time of work provided by an employer to employees for personal use. Employees can avail of PTO for sickness, vacation, and personal time.

Other Types of Leave

PTO is different from other types of leave, such as maternity leave or furlough, and is not mandated by the government or state. PTO is usually issued to new employees at intervals and tracked by an HR manager or administrator. PTO policies may vary between traditional and unlimited/discretionary PTO policies. The latter option refers to time off available at the employer’s discretion, without tracking hours.

While some companies still track employee hours, many employees tend to take less time off under unlimited PTO policies. Some organizations view the retention of sick days and worker productivity as benefits of unlimited PTOs, while others believe that time off is critical to employee health and wellness, and use limited PTO policies. Personal time off is just one aspect of PTO, which may also include time off for appointments or work-related education. Employers have the right to deny time off requests for personal days depending on circumstances such as prior commitments or conflicting requests. Similarly, employers are not bound by law to inquire about the reason behind PTO requests. Employees reserve the right to privacy during their personal days and are not obligated to share information.