Need advice regarding PTO for startups and small teams

Hello everyone! My company is working on a PTO policy and I could use any advice you have regarding PTO for a startups and small teams.

  • How many days does your company offer for new employees?
  • Does your company have earned additional PTO for tenured employees?
  • If unlimited, what’s been your experience with that? Good / bad?

Unlimited. Works out great if employees are actually encouraged to take time off (better yet, celebrated for taking time off). Seems to have become the standard, makes tracking easier and the company doesn’t build up a liability of unpaid time.


Thanks @Donovan. Do you have an idea about how many days employees take? Or how many you take per year given the flexibility of not tracking?


Unlimited. It’s been good. People like it. The knock on it is some may not take enough vacation! So we added two paid days off for long weekends this summer - like two extra public holidays


@Natalie, No idea how many days but I’d guess a about three weeks on average.


I’m a Product Manager coach and I’ve helped numerous clients through the job offer negotiation process. Because hiring is SO competitive, I can tell you that, as a company, you put yourself at a real disadvantage if you offer limited PTO. Especially for people who are deeper into their careers. Unlimited is the way to go.


One of the things I am trying to get implemented here, where we have unlimited days is a minimum required number of days off. It’s so easy to get busy and not take days.


I worked for a company that had unlimited PTO. It was great on the surface, but if you have a strong middle management, it’s not so great. About 6 months into the role they put a middle manager in for my team. After she started I had about 4 real days of PTO per year until I quit. For her, everything interfered with the business and I wasn’t able to take PTO time. Or I would have to work through a trip because something came up. Because of that, I would prefer to have 5 weeks of vacation that I could user at liberty and have a legal stance for taking.


@Naomi, I’m not sure I’d call her a strong manager if the end result was your burning out and quitting.


I agree with @DonovanOkang- strong management is good at helping people succeed and it sounds like what you meant was overly demanding, poor middle management.


I think I used “strong” in the wrong context. In general, I’m not a big fan of middle management and in my original comment was “strong middle management” in a negative context. Yes, @Marco, your correction is right - overly demanding, poor middle management.

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Thank you so much, everyone! This is really helpful :slightly_smiling_face: