If you’ve ever seen a job listing for a company with unlimited vacation, you may have wondered whether it’s real or just a gimmick. The truth is that many companies offer this benefit, but very few people can actually use it. There are plenty of reasons why unlimited vacation isn’t as great as it sounds at first glance in fact there are several reasons why unlimited PTO is a trap. One big reason is how it can impact professional development. As with anything else in life, the key is knowing what’s really going on and how to manage expectations correctly. 

In this article, we’ll dig into all those issues and give you some tips on how best to approach them when considering an offer for unlimited PTO. In addition, you’ll find a few alternatives to offer instead of unlimited PTO.

PTO with AB

What is an Unlimited PTO Policy?

An unlimited paid time off policy is one that gives employees the ability to take as much time off as they need, without having to worry about it affecting their pay.

Employers who offer this kind of policy often do so in order to improve employee satisfaction and retention rates. Employees who feel happier and more relaxed at work are more likely to stay with their employer for longer periods of time, which is good for both parties.

It’s also a great way for employers to demonstrate that they care about their employees’ well-being, which can help improve morale.

Companies with unlimited PTO usually want to keep employees around, but some offer it as a way of avoiding risk. The answer is simple: if your employees are happy, they’re more likely to stay at your company. Let’s dive deeper into the pros and cons of having an unlimited PTO policy.

Perks of an Unlimited PTO Policy

There are many perks of having an unlimited PTO policy. 

For Companies

A Great Tool for Recruitment

Unlimited paid time off is a great recruitment tool because it sounds good to everyone, including top candidates.

People already working at your company will be happy because they can take as much vacation as they want, or don’t have to worry about whether or not they have enough vacation days left over for next year.

Even if they don’t use their vacation days, they know they can. They know that their employer values them enough to give them the freedom to take time off when needed. And that’s a message that’s hard to ignore in the age of overworked, overstressed employees who feel like they’re on call 24/7.

No PTO Accrual

One benefit of having an unlimited PTO policy is that there won’t be any PTO accrual that employers will have to pay out to employees at the end of the year as opposed to when there is a limited time off policy. This can be helpful for employers because it means they don’t have to worry about keeping track of how much PTO employees are earning over time, which can be difficult if you have a lot of employees.

PTO Accrual with AttendanceBot

No Need for Complex Calculations at the End of the Year 

One benefit of having an unlimited PTO policy is that there will be no need for complex calculations at the end of the year.

If you have a limited number of days allowed for PTO, you have to make sure you’re tracking how many hours your employees are working and how many days they’ve used up. That can get complicated in a hurry.

But if you allow unlimited use, it’s easy: just let them take as much time as they need! You don’t have to worry about whether they’ve used up their allotted amount of days or not.

Cost Efficient

Unlimited PTO can save your company money because, in this policy, you wouldn’t have to pay off your employees for vacation days not taken. Instead, they could take as many vacation days as they wanted and only be paid for the ones they actually took. This gives employees the freedom to use their time as they want without worrying about taking extra time off. On the other hand, when there is a limited time off policy, most employers will be expected to pay out the amount for vacation days not taken at the termination.

happy employee

For Employees

Mental Well Being

The most obvious is that it helps employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance, which is important for everyone’s mental health and well-being.


Having unlimited PTO gives employees the freedom to make their own decisions about when they need to take time off and how long they will be away from work without worrying about repercussions or having to justify their choices. It also makes it easier for people who have children or other family members who may need them during certain times to take advantage of those opportunities without feeling guilty or like they are letting their employer down by doing so.

Increased Productivity and Satisfaction

When employees are given the freedom to decide how much time off they need, it helps them feel valued by their company and more motivated to do well in their job. This can result in higher productivity levels and more satisfied customers than if there were limits on how much time off could be taken at any given time; both of which would mean better overall business results for your company as well.

Drawbacks of Having an Unlimited Policy

If you see an offer for unlimited PTO, don’t automatically think it’s too good to be true. While the thought of being able to take as much time off as you want may sound nice, here are some reasons why unlimited PTO is a trap:

For Companies

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.

This can cause problems for the company because it means that employees won’t be at work when they are needed, which means that other employees have to pick up their slack. It also means that there will be more work for everyone once those people return from time off. Although this is the fact, according to a survey by Glassdoor, only 25% of employees actually end up taking the time off they deserve.

Mismanagement of Workload

Another drawback of having an unlimited PTO policy is that it makes it hard to get work done. When employees are able to take as much time off as they want, they’re much less likely to be on top of their workload. That will lead to delays in meetings, work will start piling up, meeting times will have to be changed and emails will start getting ignored.

Employees Will Take Less Time Off

One drawback of having an unlimited PTO policy is that the concept of unlimited PTO may cause confusion and discomfort. In response to this, employees may not take many off days. In fact, according to a Forbes article employees that work in companies with an unlimited paid time off policy, take less time off. Additionally, some employees may feel frustrated when they do not know how much time they can take off and are unsure how their coworkers will respond if they do not return on time.

They won’t take the time off because there are no restrictions on when they can take the time off, many employees who would otherwise be inclined to use their allotted vacation days don’t. Another research has shown that people actually take less time off when offered unlimited PTO than when given a set number of days for vacation each year, which more or less means unlimited PTO is a trap for employees.

For Employees

Increased Burnout

When there is an unlimited PTO policy in place, employees won’t take all of their allotted time off. This is just another reason why unlimited PTO is a trap. That will lead to issues for employees. As such, your company might see an overall decrease in productivity, lack of motivation, and increased burnout since fewer workers will be taking their allotted vacation days. 

Resentment from Other Coworkers

It’s true that unlimited PTO is all about trusting employees to manage their own time, but it can also be used as an excuse for employees to leave early or take more vacation days than they need. When this happens, co-workers who are still working hard may feel resentful, which can lead to animosity in the office.

On the contrary, employees may end up taking a few days off despite having an unlimited PTO policy because they don’t want their colleagues to think of them, as lazy and less hard-working than they are. 

Employees End Up Working Even More

Most of the time when employees request time off, they have to work double in order to complete all the tasks before they take leave. Even while they are on a vacation, employees end up checking emails to see if they’ve missed anything and so on. Not just that, they have to work more on returning from vacation to make up for the lost work.

It could also lead to greater job dissatisfaction among those who work harder or longer than their peers.

Unlimited PTO Offers Flexibility But Has a Downside

Unlimited PTO is a great way to attract candidates who are looking for flexibility and freedom, but it can also come with drawbacks. For example, employees who want unlimited PTO may not be as productive when they take time off. They may also need more training than other employees because they’re not used to working a regular schedule.

employees working together

How can Employers Play their Part?

Showing Employees that it’s Okay to Take Time Off

One way to solve the issue is for employers to show their employees that it’s okay to avail of the unlimited PTO policy. That way they will think it’s normal to do that for their own good without feeling bad about themselves. Upper management should take periodic vacations to demonstrate that taking time off isn’t bad.

Bringing up Unlimited PTO During a Job Interview

If employees want to know more about their prospective employer’s culture, bringing up unlimited PTO can be a great way to get answers. Employers tend to talk about how much vacation time they give their employees, so if they say ‘yes, we have unlimited PTO,’ that will help them understand what kind of company they are and how they take the unlimited PTO policy here.

Having One-On-Ones with Employees

When it comes to taking time off, it’s best to be proactive. If your employees aren’t taking any time off at all, encourage them to do so. If they’re taking too many unplanned leaves, ask if they’re facing any issues that may be causing the problem.

The best way to ensure your team is taking time off when they need it is to be aware of what’s going on in their lives and be proactive about helping them make a plan for their needs.

How can Employers Empower Their Employees Beyond Just an Unlimited PTO Policy?

The unlimited PTO policy is becoming more and more popular in the workplace. But why unlimited PTO is a trap?

And how can you empower your employees without scamming them? Here are some tips:

Creating a Positive Work Environment 

Create a culture where employees feel comfortable taking vacation time when they need it.

Offer flexible scheduling options so that employees who do not work remotely can get the most out of their time off while still staying connected to the office and ensuring customer satisfaction

Open Communication

Encourage open communication between managers and employees about what’s going on in the company so that there are no surprises when someone asks for a day off.

Flexible Work Hours

Working from home is one way to achieve this. You won’t have to worry about traffic or getting stuck in an elevator, but there are other perks as well: no office gossip or annoying coworkers to distract you from work.

Flexible Work Location

 If you have an office space that allows employees some privacy, they might be less distracted while they work and even more productive overall because they feel like their own space is sacred ground. This also gives them an opportunity for quiet reflection during their downtime rather than being surrounded by constant noise all day long.

Summing Up

It is considered that an unlimited PTO is a trap. However, it’s up to individual employers to decide what policy is best for them and their employees after weighing out all the pros and cons. Companies that do implement this type of policy should recognize that their employees may face new challenges, and should be prepared to offer support and guidance accordingly or offer alternatives instead of such a policy.

PTO management with AttendanceBot