More companies offering unlimited PTO, flex time as incentive for employees

CHICAGO (WLS) -- More companies are offering unlimited paid time off and flex time as an incentive to employees, but what does all that mean?

Jessica Schaeffer from the LaSalle Network joined ABC7 Chicago in the studio to help us break down the perk.

Schaeffer said the average American only took about 54-percent of their available time off in a year, and only 28-percent of Americans planned on maxing out their vacation days last year.

From summer hours to four-day workweeks, or unlimited PTO, there are various things companies are doing to encourage employees to take time off, or at least look like they're encouraging time off.

Schaeffer said employee should take vacations and breaks because they are a great opportunity to recharge your batteries.

Ironically, she said, when employees are given an unlimited amount of time off, they don't take them. She pointed out this could be because having a policy as ambiguous as "unlimited PTO" invites confusion and misuse. Employees either don't provide enough notice when they want to take vacation, or managers foster an environment where staff feels punished when they do use their PTO.

Also, an employee who took five weeks of PTO (even though that's allowed under company policy) versus one who only took one week, is likely looked down on, or at the very least, loses key projects or accounts to workers who didn't take time off.

While companies may have the intention of helping improve employees' work-life balance with unlimited PTO, it's difficult to make sure staff is using it the way it's intended.

For more information, watch the video in this article, or visit
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