Despite Advantages, Use of PTO Programs not Growing

October 19, 2006 ( - A new survey has found that, despite evidence that paid time off (PTO) programs reduce unscheduled employee absenteeism, the number of organizations utilizing PTO programs has stabilized.

According to a press release from the Alexander Hamilton Institute (AHI), its 2006 survey found that 56% of over 800 responding employers still use a traditional leave policy that separates and tracks vacation, personal, and sick leave. This is the same number as recorded in AHI’s 2005 survey, the release said.

Respondents cited the costs involved in switching to PTO and paying for accumulated sick leave, recordkeeping changes, and tracking sick time for legal reasons as justifications for sticking to their traditional time off programs.

However, those employers that have implemented PTO programs were well pleased with the benefits. According to the press release, 56% claimed their PTO program had reduced unscheduled absences and 89% said that their switch to PTO had met or exceeded their expectations. Other benefits of PTO programs cited by users were easier recordkeeping for accrual, eligibility, and usage; less confusion among employees about time off schedules; and better recruiting and retention strategies.

The survey also showed that, since vacation, personal and sick days are all pooled together, PTO programs typically offer more days off for employees. AHI said 58% of five-year veterans at firms utilizing PTO get between 16-25 days off, while only 15% of the same veteran group at firms utilizing traditional time off policies receive similar vacation allocations. Additionally, 54% of PTO vets with 10 years plus receive 21-30 days off versus just 12% of the traditional group.

AHI’s 2006 Survey of Traditional Time Off and PTO Program Practices can be purchased here .