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The truth about ‘unlimited PTO’


Good morning! Today is Wednesday, August 7, 2019. Need to subscribe? Sign upfor free here (charlotteledger.substack.com). Send to a friend.

Charlotte-area employers are looking into enhanced PTO, but there are


potential downsidesCharlotte has seen a lot of big tech announcements in the last few months.Lowe’s is building a 2,000-worker tech hub in South End. AvidXChange isbuilding a second HQ at the Music Factory. LendingTree is moving to South Endand expanding.So if tech is taking over, can some of its popular HR policies be far behind?In a time of low unemployment, there are plenty of tactics that companies inCharlotte and elsewhere are rolling out to attract tech-savvy millennials,including offering dog-friendly workplaces, providing meaningful work,including meals and fitness options and — maybe this sounds old-fashioned —paying higher salaries.But one of the most attention-grabbing is a time-off policy known as“unlimited PTO.” Paid time off, or PTO, is routinely used by larger companiesand combines sick days and vacation days into a bank of time that employeescan take for flexible purposes. Unlimited PTO takes that flexibility a stepfurther: Instead of granting you a certain number of days off, time away fromthe office is limited only by what you can work out with your boss.Some companies in Charlotte are already doing it: * LendingTree offers what it calls “unlimited vacation days.” From its website: “Yes, we are all adults here! … It means we all know that we need to get our work done and keep our bosses happy, even while we take some time off work.” * Accounting firm Grant Thornton offers what it calls “flexible time off” to its 375 Charlotte employees. “Our goal was to further enhance our culture of trust, where employees are empowered to manage their own time, allowing them to return to work refreshed, with better ideas and solutions for clients,” Lou Ann Hutchison, Grant Thornton’s managing director of People & Culture Operations, told the Ledger. * MapAnything, a tech company based in Charlotte that was bought this year by Salesforce, offers unlimited PTO to its 100 workers.While it might sound like a useful recruiting tool, it’s not right for everycompany. HR managers say there are a few potential pitfalls, including: * Uneven application. Workers taking different numbers of days can lead to resentment. * Pressure on managers. Without a policy to fall back on that limits days off, managers must take more responsibility to counteract the potential for abuse. * Perception vs. reality. People hired with visions of taking lots of vacation might become disillusioned when managers reject some of their requests. * No payout when you leave. Unlike unused vacation days or traditional PTO days, employees who leave typically receive no compensation under an unlimited PTO plan.

According to a recent survey by The Employers Association, just 5% of


local companies surveyed had an unlimited PTO policy — about the same figureas three years ago.Stephanie Dillon of The Employers Association, which provides HR support tolocal companies, says she routinely fields questions about unlimited PTO.“There are definitely more people inquiring about it than actually doing it,”she says.Dillon recommends: * Assess your company’s values. If your office values face time, such a plan might not be a good fit * Clearly define the process. Who approves days off, and with how much notice? * Consider a trial period to see if it works. * Communicate with employees when rolling out a new plan.“The company message is, by giving the gift of unlimited PTO, in return, youexpect hard work, professionalism and results.”* * *

Olsen explains Madden NFL 2020 glitch


Speaking of the Panthers, tight end Greg Olsen is getting some onlineattention this week, after people who previewed EA Sports’ “Madden NFL 20”video game pointed out that Olsen’s avatar in the game looks nothing like thereal Olsen:

Panthers go all-in on digital tickets


Say goodbye to paper tickets. In a blow to people with tech phobias, thePanthers this year for the first time are making all tickets digital.“Starting this season, tickets will only be digital, allowing you toconveniently manage them right from your smartphone!” the Panthers wrote in aletter to PSL holders. Tickets can be managed on the Panthers’ mobile app.The biggest losers: scalpers.* * *

Highly rated movies now playing:


* The Farewell (99% on Rotten Tomatoes) * Toy Story 4 (G) (97%) * Spider Man: Far From Home (PG-13) (90%) * Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (85%) * Crawl (R) (84%) * Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (66%) * Yesterday (PG-13) (63%)

Interested in exploring new opportunities?


Fill out our Career Matrix so we can get a better understanding of what theright opportunity looks like for you. If you want to learn more about theMontreal IT market you can always reach out to Corey or Jason our avansaiadvisors10 Coolest Employee Perks Offered By Tech CompaniesA happy employee is worth a lot to a company. These days, opportunities aboundfor talented members of the tech workforce, and many employers are pulling outthe big guns in order to secure the best and brightest talent out there. Noperk seems too far out of reach. As millennials continue to enter the techscene in droves, who knows what will be offered next . . . Perhaps sponsoredspace travel?

7 Open Vacation Policies


Unlimited vacation time sounds too good to be true, right? That’s probablybecause it is for most of us, but for those working for some of the hottesttech companies, this dream perk is a reality. At PaperG, an advertising techcompany, employees are given unlimited paid vacation, which they can take attheir leisure. Netflix introduced its open vacation policy nearly a decadeago, realizing before most that work-life balance for its employees wasessential.Richard Branson, the CEO of Virgin Group, decided to take a page from Netflixand offer unlimited paid time off as well and is planning to extend it toother subsidiary groups owned by his corporation. Though unlimited vacationmight seem nuts to some, consider that workers in the US are extremely behindin their time-off policies as it is. According to a study, workers in the EUare guaranteed at least 20 paid vacation days per year and often get more. Incontrast, around one out of every four Americans don’t even get paid vacationor holidays from their employers.

4 Fertility Assistance


At Apple, the higher-ups have decided to provide a helping hand to thoseemployees who are trying to conceive and are having a difficult time at it.How so? They will now help to cover costs associated with fertility treatment.Apple has agreed to give $20,000 to any member of their team who is undergoinginfertility treatment, freezing their ova, or seeking sperm donors. This moveis particularly clever of Apple, given that it’s trying its best to hirefemale engineers in what is a mostly male-dominated field.Facebook is also offering this perk, though it’s still quite a rare perk inthe tech world. Many companies offer insurance that will assist in financialaid when it comes to Viagra, birth control, and abortion, but fertilitytreatment remains off the table. Apple and Facebook are definitely ahead ofthe curve on this one, and by offering assistance, they ensure a higherretention rate and less stress for female employees, which allows them tofocus more on their work. The two tech giants also offer these services tosame-sex couples, whether they use a surrogate or in vitro fertilization.

2 Bottomless Apple Products


Its seems like Apple is basically its own planet, and the rest of us merelyorbit around its magnificence. Although everyone has their own brandspreferences, there’s no question that Apple and Google products take the cakewhen it comes to intelligent design. At Pinterest, the photo-sharing website,employees take regular trips to the Apple Store to make purchases onPinterest’s dime.The company believes that whatever is needed to be productive is whatemployees should be using. So, when workers feel the need for the latest andgreatest piece of equipment, they head over to the local Apple Store duringcompany hours and pick out whatever they want. Pinterest even has an employeededicated to catering to the needs of its workers. Whether it’s bringing innew fitness classes, testing out new fun office promo items, or knowingpeople’s favorite snacks, this person takes care of it all, so Pinterestemployees don’t have to.

1 Gender Reassignment Surgery


Happily, more and more companies and health networks are opening up theirminds and wallets to providing coverage associated with the costs of genderreassignment surgery. Whether it’s financial assistance or offering counselingoptions, the discussion surrounding gender reassignment is definitely beingheld in the corporate sphere. It’s known as Transgender coverage. Accenture,an IT giant, pays for all costs associated with gender reassignment surgeryfor employees.There are also many costs leading up to the actual surgery that aren’t cheap,such as hormone therapy and psychiatric services. Netflix, Tesla, and Facebookhave all added gender reassignment as a staff benefit. In reality, the offerto support individual employees undergoing these transitions is a PR goldmine. Since very few employees actually take advantage of the benefits (aboutone in every 15,000) and the cost of adding coverage to plans is relativelylow for companies, so the employers have little to lose. Adding the benefitsshows that the company is progressive and values equality, and doing so canattract talent searching for those values.Lee is a freelance writer with an inquiring mind. She is open to beingrecruited by tech companies that wish to pay her solely in perks.Incredible Companies Where Employees Have Unlimited Vacation * Vacation days can be a godsend — you can take a much-needed and deserved trip, attend doctor’s appointments, or simply catch up on sleep. * However, vacation days can also quickly run out. * Here are 14 companies that give their employees unlimited vacation days and personal time off, not to mention other incredible employee benefits. * Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.Vacation policies can differ from company to company. While some companies aremore stringent with how much time their employees can take off, others allowtheir workers to take as much time as they want or need.According to research by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, 25% ofAmerican workers receive no paid vacation time.Stigma surrounds taking personal time off and vacations. However, thesecompanies are trying to change that through flexible vacation policies.Glassdoor recently released their list of 14 companies with incredibleunlimited vacation policies, among other benefits and perks.Read more: 9 companies in the UK that offer employees unlimited time offMany of the companies on Glassdoor’s list also have comprehensive family leaveand sick time policies, making it easier for employees to step away from workwhen they really need to.Here are 14 companies that give their employees unlimited vacation days andpersonal time off.Unlimited PTO Companies | Monster.comUnlimited PTO? Yes, please.Of all the innovative job perks popping up in the workplace, one old standbykeeps its appeal year after year: Vacation days. Nothing quite sweetens a joboffer like the promise of plentiful paid time off. Though the average full-time American worker gets 10 to 20 days of paid vacation a year, according tothe Bureau of Labor Statistics, a growing number of businesses are offeringunlimited paid vacation time (also known as unlimited PTO) to their employees,with the expectation that workers will use it responsibly.Sound appealing? Check out these nine companies that don’t put a limit on yourdays off.

The road to unlimited PTO starts here


If you’re interested in getting a job at these companies, you can expect somehefty competition, because who doesn’t want unlimited PTO as one of their jobperks? To help you stand out from the crowd, you need a job search strategythat keeps you ahead of the other applicants. Could you use some help? JoinMonster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions ofyour resume—each tailored to the types of jobs that interest you. Recruiterssearch Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates,just like you. Additionally, you can set up job alerts from these companies tobe sent directly to your inbox to cut down on time spent looking through ads.Unlimited Paid Time Off Is a Deceptive Ploy in Today’s WorkplaceEmployees may be lured by the idea of unlimited paid time off but the realityis unlimited paid time off is often an egregious fabrication that employerstell their workforce.What is usually lost in the conversation is what employees are forced to giveup when their organization decides to implement an unlimited system. There areplenty of legitimate business reasons to stop offering — and stop beingenamored by — the allure of the unlimited PTO promise.“It’s great to not have to pay out [accrued vacation] when people leave,” saidMaggie Grover, a partner at Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP in an interviewwith website HR Dive. “Because people are so connected and working even whenthey’re technically off, they tend to take fewer full vacation days. So evenif you cap a vacation bank at 1.5 or 2 times the annual accrual amount, thepayout at the end of the employment relationship can still be significant.”And just to note, not all states require employers to pay out accruedvacation.Recognizing that this is a large financial obligation, many companies arerelieving themselves from these obligations by offering unlimited policies.Employees also can’t save or accrue “unlimited” vacation time to use nextyear. When it comes time to transition from the company, the employer has noobligation to pay out the extra hours of productivity that were used in lieuof taking a break.According to outplacement firm RiseSmart, an unlimited PTO policy“significantly reduces the costs of having to pay employees for unused PTO andmay be one of the most compelling factors for companies considering anunlimited PTO policy.”Unlimited vacation is a work-around, plain and simple. By offering this perk,companies get away from tracking and accruing a liability that in some states,once accrued, is considered earned wages. And once wages are consideredearned, they must be paid out at departure or termination.Less Time Off for EmployeesSome studies show that American employees today often end up taking little orno more time off in an “unlimited” system compared to when they have a setnumber of days off each year.In a study by HR platform Namely, research suggests that employees with“unlimited” vacation actually take fewer days off (13) on average than thosewith a limited number (15).Unlimited PTO Is No Win-Win for Today’s TalentUnlimited PTO sounds generous on a job description, but employees by and largeend up getting paid less with no value attributed to their PTO while companiesgain more of their employees’ productivity.This latest benefits trend is harming the workforce and leading mass groups ofemployees to forfeit the second most important job benefit with no way tomonetize or reutilize the value of their PTO.Companies need to ask if they’re making these changes for employees or fortheir bottom line. If, let’s say, employees are using 100 percent of their PTOand a company wants to decrease expenses, then perhaps such a program makessense. However, this is generally not the case today. Employees thus leavebillions of dollars worth of unused PTO on the table.Are benefits a meaningful way to attract, engage and retain employees?Absolutely.Will unlimited PTO be a mainstay of the future of work? Absolutely not.Instead of unlimited, employers — and talent — should be thinking in terms offlexible, diverse and portable benefits to mirror the workforce today.10 Companies That Offer Unlimited Vacation TimeFinding and retaining top talent is on the minds of just about every company.Making a workplace comfortable and fun is a great way to woo potential hiresand keep employees from straying to other firms.Aside from healthy salaries and great benefits, offering flexible workschedules and lots of vacation time is great way to keep personnel happy. Areport from Remote.co — a remote work consultancy and search platform —recently assembled a list of companies that do not put a cap on the amount ofvacation time their employees are allowed.For a look at the ten companies Remote.co highlight that offer their peoplefree reign in the time-off category, check out our slideshow below.Offering employees the ability to decide for themselves how much time off theyrequire is a liberated approach to employee benefits. But that trust is oftenwell-placed says Noah Callaway, co-founder and partner of Apsis Labs, threeyear-old Seattle-based custom software development firm whose clients includeNatera, Boku and Webber Shandwick.“I trust in our employees to do the right thing,” says Callaway, whose firm iscomprised of just seven people. “As a small company, one of the main thingsthat we’re looking for are people we can trust.”Some companies allow their employees to decide how much time off they need.Here are ten…… [+] (Shutterstock)On average, says Callaway, employees take between three and four weeks oftheir unlimited vacation time per year. An understanding exists within theorganization that time off should not be taken in the midst of a sizableproduct delivery for a client. But emphasis is placed on the need to rest anddecompress, and Apsis actually mandates that personnel take at least threeweeks off a year. “People are more productive when they’re able to work in along term, sustainable way,” says Callaway. “Giving people the time to takebreaks and get separation from their company and mentally recharge helps themwhen they come back to be productive and focused.”An open vacation policy seems luxurious. But perhaps that’s a U.S.-basedreaction. According to Brie Reynolds, senior career specialist at Remote.co,U.S. employees rank near the bottom for allotted vacation time in theindustrialized world. “The idea that unlimited time off makes employees moreresponsible seems to be proven — one of the interesting side effects ofunlimited vacation policies that we’ve heard from multiple companiesinterviewed at Remote.co is that employees who have it often take too littlevacation, instead of too much. So, some companies have actually startedcreating minimum vacation days to encourage employees to take more time awayfrom work.”In order to truly enforce vacation time, one of the companies on the listtries to block its employees from conducting company business while on leave.Elite SEM, a 13 year-old digital marketing firm headquartered in New York thatemploys 170 people, actually changes the passwords of personnel who are onbreak so they cannot log into the company system and receive or send emails.CEO Ben Kirshner enacted the unlimited vacation policy upon launching thefirm. “I think people appreciate the flexibility and the lack of micromanagement,” he told FORBES. “We have never had anyone abuse the policy so wehaven’t had to adjust it much since 2004.”Leaving free time allotment up to employees is all well and good forrelatively small companies in which everyone knows everyone and absences areconspicuous, but can it work in larger organizations? It seems it can — well-known large organizations like Netflix, LinkedIn and GrubHub have embraced thepolicy. “The key is making sure managers are aware of the policy and that theyare encouraging employees to take time off,” says Reynolds. “And with globalcompanies especially, this type of policy can help ease the burden of trackingpaid holidays, vacation time, and other time off accrued and taken, which canvary from country to country.”

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