Payroll Play 7/10: How to Create a Paid Time Off Policy
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Payroll Play 7/10: How to Create a Paid Time Off Policy

Imagine your company experiences rapid growth, but your existing paid time off policy doesn't scale well. With more employees onboard, there's confusion about vacation accrual and approval.

Well, PTO is one of the big factors in job satisfaction. Any fancy leaflet with work-life balance tips won’t substitute an extra day off. So, with all this chaos, it's clear you need a fresh PTO policy – one that's easy to understand, fair to everyone, and can grow right along with your business.

Let's dive into crafting such a PTO policy.


  • Changes in labor laws or regulations.
  • Accommodating new employee demographics or work arrangements.
  • Ensuring you remain a competitive employer while competitors offer more generous benefits.
  • Recognizing the correlation between adequate time off and job performance.


Step 1: Understand Legal Requirements and paid time off policy best practice

  • People often ask: is paid sick time required by law? Well, there is no universal paid time off policy sample. It’s really depends on the location. So, check out federal, state, and local laws.


Let's say you're in California, where full-time and part-time workers are entitiled for paid sick leave of at least 40 hours (or five days off) each year applies. And it’s up to employers whether they want to provide more days off based on an accrual plan.

In contracts, in France, employees are eligible for up to 6 months of sick leave pay. Meanwhile, paid sick leave for part-time employees depends on the number of hours they work per week.

  • Check out what other companies in your industry are doing for paid time off.
  • Think about what your employees want, like work-life balance and job satisfaction.

Step 2: Figure Out Your PTO Types and Accrual Methods

  • Decide what kind of paid time off you'll offer, like vacation days and sick leave.
  • Choose how employees will earn paid time off, like getting a certain amount for every hour they work.

Step 3: Set Rules for Who Gets PTO

  • Decide if different employees will get different paid time off, salaried and hourly employees, full-time and part-time workers, and remote or on-site staff.
  • Make sure you're following all the rules and laws about giving PTO to different types of workers.
  • Determine the number of paid time off days employees will receive annually based on factors like years of service, job level, and company policies.


Full-timers might get 30 vacation days a year, and part-timers could get a portion based on how many hours they work.

Step 4: Make It Easy for Employees to Ask for PTO

  • Write down how employees can ask for time off and how managers will approve it.
  • Train managers on how to handle PTO requests so they can do it quickly and fairly.

Step 5: Address Unused PTO and Payouts

  • Decide if employees can save up paid time off days for later or if they'll get paid for any leftover days when they leave the company.
  • Figure out how to calculate and give employees their PTO payouts when they leave.

Step 6: Consider Flexible PTO Policies

  • Consider giving employees more freedom with their time off to boost morale and productivity.
  • Think about how this might change how work gets done and how employees feel about their jobs.

Step 7: Tell Everyone About Your Policy

  • Write up a clear PTO policy and share it with all your employees.
  • Make sure everyone knows the rules and what's expected of them.
  • Put the policy into action and update any HR systems as needed.


Host a virtual webinar for all employees to review the new paid time off policy, answer common questions, and address any concerns. Send out a follow-up email summarizing key points for reference.


How many days of paid time off (PTO) do you get per month?

Is it bad to ask for vacation pay in advance?

Is it illegal for an employer to deny time off without pay?

Is it okay to cancel PTO the night before and still go to work?

Do salaried employees have to use PTO for half days?

Step 8: Keep an Eye on How It's Going

  • Check-in regularly to see if the policy is working for everyone.
  • Ask for feedback from employees and managers to see if there are any problems.
  • Make changes to the policy as needed based on feedback and any new rules or laws.


After rolling out the new policy, you see fewer people leaving the company and more people saying they're happy with their jobs. However, some employees are confused about how PTO works, so you make some adjustments and give more training.

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