Transitioning to unlimited PTO in California

2U CyXt04
Jan 19 34 Comments

My company has transitioned to an unlimited PTO plan effective Jan 1. CA employees have been told we will not be compensated for PTO we accrued before the transition. Instead, we will be transitioned to the unlimited PTO policy after we use up the time we have banked. Have any other CA employees had a similar experience? I’ve heard Netflix transitioned to unlimited PTO and I’d love to know how management handled that transition. Thanks!

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TOP 34 Comments
  • Paychex 0x2badc0de
    Unlimited PTO means you won’t get paid for any PTO when you leave because you technically have none. You only have what you already took. Scam.
    Jan 195
    • Leanplum Boolsak
      It's only a "scam" if you don't use the PTO. Use it!
      Jan 19
    • Workday Letsbefair
      Exactly, OP did not mention whether accrued PTO balance will be paid out at termination or not. Need more details before we can judge the transition was unfair or illegal.
      Jan 19
    • 2U CyXt04
      OP
      If you leave before you run out of PTO you would be compensated for it. I think it’s likely legal - at least they claim to have talked to counsel. I’m more looking for “is this industry standard.” Thanks for the responses though. This is already incredibly helpful.
      Jan 19
    • Workday Letsbefair
      If the company compensates a departing employee for her unused accrued PTO balance, then it is perfectly legal and acceptable.

      Remember that vacation time is not a required legal benefit so its usage is not regulated. For example, a company can force its employees to use up their accrued PTOs by a certain date. It may seem unfair at first, but it is not, because the employees do get paid for not working. Hope that makes sense.
      Jan 19
    • Facebook kenbo
      This is why I make sure that my vacation balance is always in the red.
      Jan 19
  • OpenTable Meliodas
    I suspect if one quit with a balance, it would have to be paid out.

    Where I’ve worked in the past, we got paid out when we switched to unlimited PTO.

    Unlimited PTO is never unlimited. I would submit my PTO requests 3+ months in advance and when they finally did the math, I had used 30 days of PTO. My defense was that the company had approved all of it months in advance.
    Jan 194
    • Leanplum Boolsak
      Why did you need a defense?
      Jan 19
    • OpenTable Meliodas
      Because upper management got pissed when they ran the numbers.
      Jan 19
    • Facebook kenbo
      I'm loving this. They were so sure in their belief that "unlimited PTO" was a scam that they were shocked when someone took *more*
      Jan 19
    • OpenTable Meliodas
      Yeah, they were really pissed, because they did the math in September and I still had three weeks of already approved PTO scheduled for the remainder of the year. Politically, they couldn’t unapproved it for getting “too much” approved in advance.

      The next year they changed the name from “unlimited” to Flex PTO.
      Jan 19
  • Salesforce haahe
    We did. We got paid for all unused pto when this happened.
    Jan 191
    • 2U CyXt04
      OP
      So helpful- thank you.
      Jan 19
  • New b37
    Unlimited PTO is a scam designed to use social pressure to get workers to take less time off. I'd rather have 10 days with no shame in taking all 10 than unlimited but with the average person taking 5 and making you feel guilty when you take 10.
    Jan 193
    • Cisco detroiooi
      This. The only people who come out ahead in the unlimited PTO scheme are the shameless slackers. Fuck that.
      Jan 20
    • Leanplum Boolsak
      I call bullshit on this.
      It's really only up to you (and perhaps your manager). You can take your time off, and still deliver, and excel while at it.
      Multiple people on my team do it. You're not a slacker for taking time off.
      Jan 20
    • New b37
      @Boolsak - depends on your manager and corporate culture. Things will not end well for the one employee who tries to buck the trend.
      Jan 21
  • Oracle 8-{~]
    Oracle did the same. No pay for unused hours, of course, but I didn't have to tell you that.
    Jan 191
    • 2U CyXt04
      OP
      Good to know - thanks for the reply!
      Jan 19
  • Pinterest JEJM77
    I think you may be slightly missing a distinction your company made: you will no longer accrue vacation days, and when you take vacation you will first use your accrued vacation days until you have no more, but if you were to leave the company before you used all of your vacation days, they would be legally obligated to pay you for your accrued vacation. Obviously if you’re not planning on leaving in the very near term, just be sure to take more vacation than the 2 weeks you were accumulating or whatever it was. One of the reasons management favor unlimited PTO, besides not having to pay out when workers leave, is that people take less vacation on average with unlimited PTO than they do while accruing vacation days.
    Jan 191
    • Leanplum Boolsak
      Is there actual data to back this up (the claim that people will take less PTO)? I've seen conflicting studies
      Jan 19
  • Uber lufkcsg
    I take six weeks a year now, so I like the policy
    Jan 190
  • Medallia qavE44
    Medallia said they were going to do the same and there was a near open revolt so it got changed to all balances were frozen at time of transition and paid out when people leave.
    Jan 230
  • SendGrid girvssi
    we got paid out before the transition
    Jan 210
  • Vudu CfqO17
    Walmart switched to unlimited pto last year. Initially they said similar to what op's company. But later they paid out all the accrued pto.
    Jan 190
  • Pinger create💻
    Pinger transitioned to unlimited, and we all got paid for accrued vacation days when they transitioned.
    Jan 190
  • Leanplum Boolsak
    You should be paid for the accrued PTO. The option they're suggesting is not fair, because you'll be more likely to be denied "unlimited" PTO requests after using up your accrued PTO in the same year.
    Jan 190
  • PayPal p3ndi4
    We did. But we'll get paid for PTO accrued when we leave the company.
    Jan 191
    • 2U CyXt04
      OP
      So helpful- thank you.
      Jan 19
  • GoodRx BobAxelrod
    In CA they'd only have to pay out if you quit or got fired before exhausting those hours. My last employer made the switch and I got paid out when I left. Any vacation i booked after the switch didn't affect the banked hours but it was their discretion on how to handle that. To be honest they didn't have a lot of cash and were looking to avoid payouts.
    Jan 190
  • Cadence changename
    We had mandatory shutdown and then payoff of whatever remaining..
    Jan 190
  • Salesforce usersi
    Prior company tried something similar. I mentioned in the cafeteria that not talking 20 days of PTO was like getting like an extra 8% salary (1 month) each year.

    Some non-engineers overheard me with frowns on their faces. Within weeks, execs announced that after 3 months, unused PTO will be forfeited to reduce liabilities on balance sheet and they’ll be on unlimited vacation because they heard people don’t take vacation.

    People complained, especially since the company existed for many years and allowed many years of PTO to rollover.

    After complaints, they agreed to lock in PTO earnings at that point, paid when leaving company.

    I mentioned to the CEO at a gathering that it’s still unfair as people normally get paid out unused PTO at whatever their salary is when they leave, and nobody mentioned this. She said they hadn’t considered that and an email sent out spelling that it will be at their latest salary. So I think that’s how it should be.

    Still this was worse. I preferred getting paid out. With the switch to unlimited, you have to ask your boss for vacation each time. Previously, giving vacation notice was a formality: “I have 2-3 weeks I will lose so I am taking vacation”.
    Jan 190
  • New roku789
    Same as above message at previous company.
    Jan 190
  • Cisco ChuckRobbi
    What a scam
    Jan 190

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