How Much PTO is Normally Offered by Companies? (2023)

Companies offer employees paid time off (PTO) as a significant benefit, but how much do workers typically receive? In this story, we look at how companies allocate PTO among employees. We also discuss the differences in PTO offerings in several industries and why some experts stress negotiating and using it to your greatest advantage.

Following wages and health insurance, paid time off (PTO) is one of the essential benefits companies offer employees. Taking time off is vital for workers’ mental and physical health. It is also good for business. Studies show that employees who regularly take time away from work stay with the company longer, and good retention numbers improve morale.

But how much PTO should employees receive as part of their benefits package? And is there a limit or restriction on how those same workers should use their paid time off?

In this story, we will talk about the basics of PTO and how some companies choose to allocate it. We will also point toward resources to help understand company PTO policies and reduce stress and confusion about this incredibly vital benefit.

How Do We Define PTO?

Before we talk about competitive PTO, we must understand what paid time off is. PTO encompasses several types of time away from work, including:

  • Sick time: Time away from work because of an illness
  • Vacation time/personal time: Paid hours to take care of personal business or to go on vacation
  • Paid holidays: Federal holidays officially recognized by the company
  • Paid leave: Any other paid leave, such as sick or parental leave

No state or federal law requires employers to offer workers PTO, a sticking point among labor activists and workers. Still, most employers choose to do so for full-time staff to improve recruiting.

(Video) What’s the Difference Between Vacation Time and PTO?

PTO Buckets

Companies structure their PTO in several ways. Some companies break it into different categories. These organizations offer specific PTO days for vacations, sick time and personal time off. Employees accrue this time based on the number of hours they work each pay period. The number of days off varies by company, but most allocate a schedule like this:

  • 10 vacation days
  • 5 sick days
  • 2 personal days
  • Paid holidays at the business’s discretion or needs

Set Number of PTO Days or Hours

Other companies do not break down PTO into categories. Instead, they offer a blanket number of PTO days or hours per year and allow employees to use them as they wish. For example, an employee who rarely becomes ill may choose not to take any sick days, instead leaving for a two-week vacation to Greece.

In companies where employees accrue PTO, the option sometimes exists to roll over some unused hours or days into the following year (usually with a limit). Employees who leave the organization without using all accrued PTO may receive payment for those unused days or hours.

Unlimited PTO

Unlimited PTO is a popular trend among tech sector companies. Employees may take unlimited sick days or vacation days. This concept sounds appealing, but in practice, it is more complicated than expected. Some companies frown on taking too much time off. Employees do not receive compensation for unused time at the end of the year.

Some people see unlimited PTO as a great benefit, while others view it as a liability. Even human resources (HR) professionals have strong opinions. Amy Miller, a recruiting professional and trusted career search voice, is one of them. In a recent post, she explained:

“I don't want unlimited PTO. I am really bad at unplugging. I just am. I have WONDERFUL bosses who encourage me to take time away. I have a generous PTO package. I like getting reminders that I'm maxing out and for the love of God take some time off Ames. I like knowing that if I did indeed separate from my company, any unused PTO GETS PAID OUT.”

(Video) PTO FAQ: 10 Common Questions and Answers About Paid Time Off Policies

Increasing PTO

Other companies offer new associates a set amount of time off and increase those days as their tenure with the company increases. An employee may receive 10 days of PTO in year one but be eligible for an extra day the following year or an additional week after five years of employment.

How Much PTO is Normally Offered by Companies? (1)

Average PTO in the United States

Companies offer PTO to employees after they reach certain milestones or service requirements. Most vacation time does not start accruing until after 90 days or longer, although many employers make exceptions. This often happens with employees who have previously scheduled vacations before accepting a new job.

Some career experts – like Austin Belcak – stress negotiating PTO as part of the compensation package when taking a new job. Belcak explains:

“Companies give US employees 10 days PTO on average.

European employees of those same companies get a minimum of 20 days.

(Video) Understanding PTO for PAs! What's included? How much should you get?

Oh, and did I mention that CEO pay rose 16% last year…

While employee compensation went down (when adjusted for inflation)?

Historically, corporations have been the ones taking a “me first” approach.

And it typically comes at the expense of their employees’ financial and mental health.

That’s exactly why candidates and employees should *always* negotiate.”

Of course, just because a person receives PTO does not mean they will use it. U.S. workers left an average of 4.6 vacation days on the table in 2021. Even more surprising? For employees with unlimited PTO options, the rate of time off may decrease more.

(Video) How to Calculate Paid Time Off PTO Accrual Rates and PTO Banks

So how much PTO do workers receive? Private sector employees usually receive 10 days after one year of service. This does not include sick days or paid holidays. The average amount of PTO a person receives will differ based on industry and type of work; government and other public sector employees usually receive more paid time off. Employee tenure can also influence the amount of PTO they receive.

How Much Does the Average PTO Increase Over Time?

Workers accrue additional PTO per year at different rates, but it is usually gradual: often an extra three or four days per every five years of service. Some estimates show that the average amount of accumulated vacation for most U.S. workers is three weeks after 10 years with an employer.

Average PTO by Industry

How much does PTO availability differ by industry? According to a compensation survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, leisure and hospitality workers have less access to PTO than other workers. The survey found 43 percent of the workers in this field have access to PTO.

Leisure and hospitality workers include hotel staff, restaurant workers, casino employees and other positions, often with high turnover that negates any PTO accumulation an employee might experience. Compare that with information (90 percent), manufacturing (95 percent) and financial workers (95 percent), who have lower turnover and enjoy the most access to paid vacation and time off.

The following figures, provided by Timetastic and Stacker, assume a company in each industry is offering PTO as a consolidated leave plan as opposed to “buckets” of days or hours:

Leisure and Hospitality

  • Average PTO after 1 year: 9 days
  • Average PTO after 5 years: 13 days
  • Average PTO after 10 years: 15 days
  • Average PTO after 20 years: 16 days

Trade, Transportation and Utilities

  • Average PTO after 1 year: 11 days
  • Average PTO after 5 years: 16 days
  • Average PTO after 10 years: 19 days
  • Average PTO after 20 years: 23 days

Professional and Business Services

  • Average PTO after 1 year: 14 days
  • Average PTO after 5 years: 18 days
  • Average PTO after 10 years: 20 days
  • Average PTO after 20 years: 22 days


  • Average PTO after 1 year: 8 days
  • Average PTO after 5 years: 11 days
  • Average PTO after 10 years: 13 days
  • Average PTO after 20 years: 14 days

Education and Health Services

  • Average PTO after 1 year: 16 days
  • Average PTO after 5 years: 20 days
  • Average PTO after 10 years: 23 days
  • Average PTO after 20 years: 25 days

Real Estate, Rental and Leasing

  • Average PTO after 1 year: 12 days
  • Average PTO after 5 years: 15 days
  • Average PTO after 10 years: 17 days
  • Average PTO after 20 years: 18 days


  • Average PTO after 1 year: 17 days
  • Average PTO after 5 years: 22 days
  • Average PTO after 10 years: 25 days
  • Average PTO after 20 years: 27 days


  • Average PTO after 1 year: 11 days
  • Average PTO after 5 years: 15 days
  • Average PTO after 10 years: 18 days
  • Average PTO after 20 years: 21 days

Financial Services

  • Average PTO after 1 year: 17 days
  • Average PTO after 5 years: 21 days
  • Average PTO after 10 years: 24 days
  • Average PTO after 20 years: 26 days

Insurance Carriers

  • Average PTO after 1 year: 17 days
  • Average PTO after 5 years: 22 days
  • Average PTO after 10 years: 24 days
  • Average PTO after 20 years: 27 days

How to Learn About Your PTO Policy

Employees should be intimately familiar with their company’s PTO policy because it is a significant benefit available for them to use. But what can a worker do if they are unsure how much PTO they have?

(Video) PTO (Paid Time Off) Policy for Hourly Employees - 5 Key Components

Most companies will reflect available PTO balances on pay stubs or via internal company resources on the intranet. If you can’t find the information there, the next step is to contact their HR department for any policies and procedures related to taking time off from work.

Key Takeaways

  • PTO is a vital benefit that more employees should take advantage of.
  • Companies offer PTO in several forms, from dedicated vacation and sick time to a bucket of hours that employees can use for nearly any purpose
  • The average private sector employee receives 10 PTO days after one year of service.
  • The leisure and hospitality industry has one of the lowest rates of PTO availability in almost any field.
  • Employees who have questions about PTO should seek information from HR on how to use it.

(Reporting by NPD)


How Much PTO is Normally Offered by Companies? ›

This is based on an average PTO in the U.S. calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The actual average is 9.7 days, which then has been rounded up to 10 full days. The 10 PTO days do not include sick days or paid holidays.

How much PTO do most companies give? ›

When it comes to PTO, most businesses offer 30 days of paid time off per year. As mentioned, employees can use these days however they choose, but it benefits your business to establish some guidelines in your employee handbook so team members don't abuse the benefit.

How much PTO is normal for a company? ›

In the private sector, the average number of paid vacation days after five years of service increases to 15 days. After 10 years of service, it rises again to 17 days. For employees with 20 years of service or more, the average number of paid vacation days is 20.

What is a reasonable amount of PTO? ›

If they're talking specifically about vacation days, then 10-20 days of paid vacation is very good. You'll be getting anywhere between two and four weeks off work per year, all of which is paid – and it doesn't include sickness or holidays! In conclusion, it is normal to receive around 10 vacation days per year.

Is 23 PTO days good? ›

For example, those in the private industry who have worked for the same company of 100+ workers for 20+ years enjoy an average of 23 PTO days each while those in the private industry who have only spent 1 year with a company of 1-99 workers have an average of 9 PTO days a year.

What is the most common PTO? ›

According to SHRM, PTO accrual by pay period is the most common accrual rate with 37% of companies using this rate. Employees start accruing PTO upon their date of hire, but they still must wait a year until they're able to access all of it.

How do I negotiate more PTO? ›

How to Ask for More PTO in a Job Offer
  1. Reference Other Offers on the Table. ...
  2. Negotiate Other Time-Related Offers. ...
  3. Get Familiar With Your Company's Vacation Policy. ...
  4. Ask for More Vacation Time During Your Next Performance Review. ...
  5. Prepare Proof Points. ...
  6. Time Your Request Appropriately. ...
  7. Give Some Options. ...
  8. Get It in Writing.

What is a fair PTO policy? ›

This policy allows employees to earn time off according to how much they work or their years of service. For example, an employee could accrue four hours of PTO for every 40 hours worked, meaning they would earn one day off every two weeks. Unless capped, PTO days continue to accrue until the employee uses them.

Is 15 days of PTO good? ›

Yes, 15 days of PTO is good for most employees. If a job is advertising 15 days of PTO for new hires, that can definitely be considered a good offer and a significant draw for talented candidates.

Is unlimited PTO a trap? ›

PTO Policy can Be Abused

Another reason unlimited PTO is a trap is that there is potential for abuse. Employees may begin to take advantage of the fact that they can take as many days off as they want, and will start taking long vacations or sick days when they don't need to.

How many hours of PTO does Amazon give? ›

Annual accrual rates for salaried employees
Completed Years of ServicePart Time (20–29 hours per week)Reduced Time (30–39 hours per week)
040 hours60 hours
160 hours90 hours
6+80 hours120 hours

How many days off a year is normal? ›

On average, employees earned 23.9 days of PTO in 2018, up from 23.2 days in 2017. more than $150,000 annually, took an average of 22.5 days and left only 3.1 days on the table. As the days taken did not keep up with days earned, 55% of Americans reported having unused vacation days—up from 52% the year prior.

How many days off should you take a year? ›

Lifehacker recommends taking seven to 11 days of vacation per year. If you work it correctly around a weekend, you can use less actual work days for your vacation.

How much PTO do Apple employees get? ›

Apple's PTO and Vacation policy typically gives 20-30 days off a year with 79% of employees expected to be work free while out of office. Paid Time Off is Apple's most important benefit besides Healthcare when ranked by employees, with 31% of employees saying it is the most important benefit.

Can I negotiate PTO? ›

It's common for employers to modify compensation packages during the hiring process. To negotiate vacation time before you start a new job, you can reference the amount of vacation time your current employer offers and ask if the company is willing to match it.

Is 6 weeks of PTO a lot? ›

6 weeks a year is long enough to take a 3-4 week vacation every year, and really unwind, while also having enough time off to deal with the other ups and downs and life throws at you. It's also not too much that it will cause any problems for your workers.

What is excessive PTO? ›

PTO Excess means, with respect to each employee of the Company, an amount equal to the aggregate value of the accrued but unused PTO for such employee as of the Closing Date in excess of 40 hours.

Which jobs offer most PTO? ›

13 jobs with the most time off
  • K-12 teachers.
  • Pilots.
  • Firefighters.
  • Air traffic controllers.
  • Librarians.
  • Law professors.
  • School psychologist.
  • Dental hygienists.
Feb 27, 2023

How many days is 40 hours of PTO? ›

How many days is 40 hours of PTO? 40 hours of PTO is 5 days of work, assuming you work 8-hour shifts. If you want to know how many days of PTO you have, simply divide the hours by however long your workday is (8 hours, for most people).

How often does PTO increase? ›

According to a study by SHRM, Employees with less than two years of service accrue ten days of PTO each year. Employees with more than five years of service accrue 25 days of PTO each year.

Should I negotiate salary or PTO? ›

Negotiate when you get the job offer

This is the ideal time to angle for more PTO. When you're offered a job (congrats!), the first thing you should do is almost always ask for more money. But if they say no, you should definitely counter by asking about more vacation days.

How much in advance should I ask for PTO? ›

A minimum of two weeks lead time is a good starting point for most businesses, although you can change that to fit your particular needs. You could also set a date each month after which requests will not be accepted.

Are bosses allowed to ask why you're using PTO? ›

Can an employer ask me why I want time off? Employers can ask why an employee is asking for time off. In fact, that question is pretty common on a standard Time Off Request or when requesting an extended Leave of Absence. However, an employee generally does not have to answer the question if they do not want to.

Is PTO better than vacation? ›

Vacation Time. The essential difference between the two is that PTO covers any paid time away from work where the employee is not working; in contrast, vacation time refers to paid time off that's taken for the employee to take a break with or without their family. It's generally requested (and approved) in advance.

What are the disadvantages of PTO? ›

The Disadvantages of a Paid Time Off Policy

Employers who implement a PTO policy sometimes fall into the trap of giving their employees fewer overall days off than they had previously, and/or new employees start accumulating paid time off days more slowly than longer-term employees.

Is 20 days of PTO a lot? ›

That really depends on the individual and their needs. For some, 20 PTO days may be enough to cover all of their vacation time for the year, while others may need more than that. An unlimited vacation policy could provide those individuals with greater flexibility in taking time off when they need it most.

How much PTO do you gain per week? ›

If you receive 120 hours per year and are paid weekly, you divide 120 by 52 equaling roughly 2.3 hours of PTO per period. Biweekly is roughly 4.6, semimonthly is 5 and monthly is 10. Multiply your pay period PTO by time worked. Finally, calculating PTO requires finding out how much time you've worked.

How much PTO is 3 weeks? ›

Includes three full weeks, which may equate to 21 days. Unused vacation does not roll over to next calendar year and is not paid out at termination.

Is unlimited PTO a red flag? ›

No, unlimited PTO is not a red flag on it's own.

If they are unable to provide that information, it could be considered a red flag. If they are able to tell you how many days employees take off, it can be a sign that employees enjoy this benefit and are taking advantage of it.

What is the average unlimited PTO? ›

One study found employees with unlimited PTO took an average of 13 days PTO per year, compared to 15 days for traditional PTO policies. Another case study found the average number of vacation days taken rose from 14.0 to 16.6 days per year after implementing unlimited PTO.

Do most companies carry over PTO? ›

Not all organizations offer PTO carryover. Some employers have a “use it or lose it” policy—if an employee doesn't use the leave by the end of the year, they forfeit it.

How much PTO do you earn at Walmart? ›

A full-time hourly associate can carry over up to 80 hours of PTO each year, and a part-time hourly associate can carry over up to 48 hours of PTO. This gives you more flexibility to take a vacation at a time of the year you choose.

Does PTO reset every year? ›

PTO Bank. A company gives its employees a set amount of PTO hours, which reset annually. Some employers reset PTO hours by hire date; others reset them on January 1.

How much PTO does Amazon give seasonal? ›

Amazon offers 10 vacation days + 6 personal days a year.

Is a 2 week vacation too long? ›

“One of the biggest reasons not to take a two-week vacation is returning with a ton of stress because there is too much on your plate,” she says. “Even if you vacation for one full week and the two adjoining weekends, it can be manageable, but two full weeks is just too much and the stress begins to accumulate.

How many sick days a year is normal for work? ›

On average workers have 7-8 sick days available to them, but many do not use their days off. Your organization needs to comply with the FMLA to offer work-protected unpaid days off. There may also be state laws to consider.

Can I call in sick 3 days in a row? ›

If you are sick you should call in sick as many days as you need to. Most places require a doctor's note after three days, though.

Is PTO the same as vacation? ›

PTO and vacation leave are both types of employee benefits. PTO, however, is a broader term than vacation leave. It describes all the types of paid leave an employee can take. Vacation leave is a type of PTO intended for a specific use—to take a break from work for rest and relaxation.

How often does the average American go on vacation? ›

Overall, 60 percent of respondents travel domestically one to two times a year. Travelers who are 54 and older responded that they were more likely to travel more than two times within the year. Just under 10 percent travel more than five times a year within the states.

How much PTO do you get at mcdonalds? ›

Vacation & Time Off Benefits

McDonald's employees receive between 15 and 25 days per year of paid time off based on years of service. McDonald's employees receive 100 hours per year of paid sick leave.

How much PTO does Facebook give? ›

Facebook offers 21 days of PTO/year. Google offers 15 days of PTO/year.

How much PTO do Bank of America employees get? ›

As a full time employee, three weeks of vacation and two weeks of sick time. You can purchase an extra week of vacation during benefits enrollment each year.

Can a boss reject PTO? ›

All employers in California must abide by all FMLA and CFRA regulations without exception. However, an employer has every right to deny an employee's request to use accrued vacation time or paid time off, but the employer must usually provide some kind of reasonable explanation.

Does PTO matter for salary? ›

Labor laws for salaried exempt with PTO employees

If a salary exempt employee has PTO as part of their benefits package, generally you can require them to use it to cover their absences. This doesn't impact their exempt status because, though it costs some PTO hours, it won't change their total monetary compensation.

Can a manager disapprove PTO? ›

Yes, the decision to approve or deny the use of accrued vacation time is up to you. But you should have—and document—a legitimate business reason for doing so.

How much PTO should I get after 5 years? ›

Typically, employees can expect to accrue an extra three to four days of PTO for every five years they've worked at a company. The amount of PTO a company offers also varies based on the industry.

Is 10 days PTO normal? ›

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average vacation time is 10-14 days per year after one year of service. Once an employee has accumulated 10 years of service, the average increases to about 15-19 days per year.

Can I take PTO after 3 months? ›

The general rule of thumb is likely to wait around three to six months. However, it strongly depends on the organization and their culture. He went on to explain that many companies clearly dictate what their vacation policy is. Some have you accrue more and more time-off the longer you're there.

What is the average unlimited PTO taken? ›

One study found employees with unlimited PTO took an average of 13 days PTO per year, compared to 15 days for traditional PTO policies. Another case study found the average number of vacation days taken rose from 14.0 to 16.6 days per year after implementing unlimited PTO.

Is 6 weeks vacation too much? ›

6 weeks a year is long enough to take a 3-4 week vacation every year, and really unwind, while also having enough time off to deal with the other ups and downs and life throws at you. It's also not too much that it will cause any problems for your workers.

Is 8 days vacation good? ›

Employees appreciate it when companies give employees a set amount of time they can take off. "The research shows that all you need is consecutive 8 days of vacation to have the impact of a good vacation. So what we say to companies is just allow your employees to take one good 8-day vacation each year."

Is 8 days too long for vacation? ›

Just over a week is the optimal duration for a vacation as the benefits associated with vacationing start tapering off after the eight-day. After two weeks, not only does the vacation become less enjoyable, and stress can accumulate. So, 2 weeks is too long for a vacation.

What are the cons of unlimited PTO? ›

Unlimited PTO: Pros and Cons
  • Pro: Employees (Probably) Won't Take More Vacation Days. ...
  • Pro: It Makes Financial Sense. ...
  • Pro: It's A Great Recruiting Tool. ...
  • Pro: It's Easy To Implement. ...
  • Con: It's Not Really Unlimited. ...
  • Con: Employees Feel Pressured To Work. ...
  • Con: It Can Be Harder To Track.
Jan 29, 2023

How many sick days does the average American take? ›

According to a Statista survey of adults in work or study in 2022, 26% took no sick days off. 6% took 1 sick day off. 15% took no more than 3 days off.

Is Amazon working Christmas Day? ›

According to, “Amazon only closes on one day a year – Christmas. Additionally, there may be reduced shifts offered for Amazon fulfillment center employees on Christmas Eve.”


1. How to Calculate PTO (Paid Time Off) Balance for Hourly Employees
(Indzara - Simple and Effective Templates)
2. James River Capital Knows PTO is More Important Now Than Ever Before
(James River Capital)
3. PTO vs. Vacation vs. Sick Leave: What Employers Need to Know | OnPay
4. How To Make The Most Of Unlimited PTO
(Cody Engel)
5. Why unlimited vacation is a TERRIBLE benefit
(A Life After Layoff)
6. What Does PTO Mean in HR Terms?


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