When you hear ‘paid time off’ or ‘PTO’, what do you think of? Is it something like this:

  • Step one: You take a desired timeframe off work
  • Step two: You go on vacation (or a “staycation” and do every day errands) while being paid
  • Step three: Return to work when that timeframe is over

End of story.

That might be overly simplified, but when most people think about PTO, it is in a similar fashion. But why? Why has your dedication and hard work been forced into a one-dimensional vacation tunnel? Shouldn’t a “benefit” have the flexibility to truly benefit you?

With five different generations in today’s workforce, and everyone’s needs in life different, flexibility is the key here.

For many people,  taking time away from your job may be MORE stressful if you are living paycheck to paycheck, are overwhelmed with student loan debt, or have health and medical bills.  Relieving stress is not just about taking days off.

Millennials love experiences, so vacation or travel might be a selling point, but with student debt totaling over $1.5 trillion, one of the largest desires is paying off the lingering student loan debts or education expenses. On the flipside, many people 55 and older aren’t worrying about student loans, but their needs and goals revolve around their families, retirement or health-related expenses.

Paid time off is meant to reduce stress and improve your wellbeing. Your benefits should be flexible to support the life transitions that we all go through.

But the norm is to take a time away from the office and go on a “vacation”?

More than 705 million paid leave days went unused, resulting in over $60 billion lost by employees (1). Instead of losing the value of lost or unused paid time off, employees can self-direct it in ways that benefit them – It’s time to change the standard.

PTO Exchange has developed a platform that allows employees to convert unused paid vacation time into tangible goods and services that matter most to them and their needs—from student loan repayment, education support, healthcare or retirement savings, to funding vacations and charity, and even transferring the time to a colleague in need.

Employees experience:

  • Ability to deposit unused PTO into under-funded 401(k), Health Savings Accounts, or to pay down student loans
  • Ability to afford a vacation through Priceline™ partnership
  • Share time with other employees in need
  • Give to 1.2 million non-profits via the PTO Exchange platform

Instead of conforming to the ‘PTO norm’, we need to change the way employers are offering employees benefits – even if they don’t leave their desk.

For more information, visit PTOExchange.com.


(1) Project: Time Off. State of American Vacation 2018 https://www.ustravel.org/research/state-american-vacation-2018

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