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At ThreeWill, we are always looking for opportunities to improve our own employee experience. We recently had one of those improvements by going to a Flexible PTO Policy. I would like to share our experience so far with this as we see how this helps our employees and share where it also has challenges.

There were a few reasons why we moved to Flexible PTO. One was the management of using PTO that was allocated. We were getting to situations where PTO would get used at the end of the year and was not spread out evenly throughout the year. Having heavy amounts of PTO at the end of the year can come from taking more time around the holidays, but we also saw more use due to the policy of losing PTO if it was not used.

Another factor with going to Flexible PTO was that it was always a challenge to bring in a seasoned employee and have them go down to only 1-2 weeks of vacation and have to build up PTO through more years of service. We want to leverage PTO to help individuals get the R&R they need to perform well at work.

What I have found interesting is that it has sparked some proactive planning. We had an employee look at the school calendar and line up their PTO for next year to coincide with when their kids were on breaks to maximize the time with their kids.

This Flexible PTO policy will require less maintenance of calculating PTO and managing carryover. That will be a simplification, but we will now have managers be more intentional to ensure PTO is being taken and performance metrics are not being missed due to excessive PTO. We hope this creates a healthier use of PTO going forward.

So, what are some of the drawbacks that you must deal with? One drawback can be that employees could abuse the lack of a cap on the number of PTO days. We look to mitigate that concern by having clear performance parameters that must be balanced with PTO.

The other initial concern raised by our employees is not having years of service impact how much PTO you get. Everyone essentially has the same amount of PTO, no matter the years of service. I found it interesting that we had one employee really struggle with this and reconciled this with we are just being generous to everyone. For you Bible scholars, this concept is taught with the laborers in the vineyard parable – (Matthew 20: 1–16).

Time will tell and, if we learn some lessons worth sharing, I will do another post on this topic.

Do you have a flexible/unlimited PTO policy? If so, do you have any words of wisdom you would add to what I have shared here?


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