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5 Innovative PTO Benefits to Consider for 2024

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Table Of Contents

New year, new benefits—what’s on your wishlist for 2024? If you find yourself caught up in the daily hustle and bustle of the corporate world, there’s a good chance that your top pick for the ultimate dream job perk is some innovative PTO benefits.

Why are PTO benefits important?

PTO benefits aren’t just a nice-to-have perk; they’re a must-have for creating a happier, healthier work life for your employees. Sure—offering employees fair pay is important, but keeping your team happy and healthy goes beyond just giving them a good salary.

In 2024, more than ever, all employees care about is their employers acknowledging the importance of work-life balance, and providing generous PTO benefits not only enhances their job satisfaction but also plays a pivotal role in shaping a workplace culture that prioritizes the holistic needs of its team members.

These PTO benefits give them the chance to step back, recharge, and enjoy the moments that matter, all while you get to build the workforce of your dreams. By recognizing and addressing these priorities, employers not only cultivate a more satisfied and engaged workforce but also contribute to the creation of a workplace where employees feel valued, and supported, and are able to thrive both personally and professionally. So from vacations and travel stipends to incentivized PTO, here are a few unique PTO benefits you should consider adding to your HR and employee benefits package in the next year. Without further ado, let’s jump right into it!

5 Innovative PTO Benefits to Consider in 2024

Employee Vacation and Travel Stipends

A travel stipend for employees, sometimes referred to as a vacation stipend or travel reimbursement, is a designated amount of money set aside for workers to utilize at their discretion within each calendar year. This fund is intended to cover personal travel expenses, providing employees with the flexibility to use it for various travel-related needs. It’s like a little gift from your workplace that puts the world at your fingertips. 

Unlike those stipends earmarked for work-related trips, this one’s all about you, and you get to pick the destination!

You can use these PTO benefits for a beach trip, a mountain escape, or exploring a city to make your break away from work more exciting. Imagine having a chunk of cash specifically set aside for your adventures—that’s the magic of a travel stipend. It’s not just about the money; it’s a perk that goes hand in hand with a fantastic PTO policy. While PTO gives you the time to unwind, a travel stipend adds that extra dash of excitement by making sure your wallet is ready to tag along on your journeys. 

A few companies leading by example

  • Airbnb: Picture this – you get a $2,000 annual stipend to use for an Airbnb stay anywhere in the world. That’s right, the world is your oyster, and your company is making sure you have the means to explore it.
  • BambooHR: Keeping it simple yet generous, BambooHR offers a $2,000 annual stipend for employees to use on their well-deserved vacations.
  • Moz: Moz believes in the power of a good vacation. They offer both U.S. and Canadian employees a cool $3,000 a year to spend on their dream getaway.

Exclusive Employee Discount Programs 

Offering exclusive Employee Discount Programs goes beyond the transactional nature of just offering discounts to your employees. Whether it’s scoring a deal on accommodation, snagging discounted airfare, or enjoying special perks at popular travel destinations, these programs turn dream vacations into affordable realities. The result? A workforce that feels valued, motivated, and rejuvenated.

These in-house exclusive discounts can help your employees plan their next getaway with ease and incentivize them to take vacations, ultimately reducing burnout. So from substantial discounts on local spas and massages to enticing gift vouchers for employees’ favorite restaurants, the scope of opportunities within these programs is virtually limitless. There is something for everyone!

Pro tip: You can also partner with local entertainment groups to better facilitate this process!

Ultimately, these programs will become a testament to your organization’s dedication to creating a workplace where individuals thrive and find joy not just in their professional achievements but also in the outside-of-work moments that life has to offer. That’s why this PTO benefit is one you should consider implementing in 2024 if you haven’t already.

Incentivized PTO

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, many companies use PTO as a strategy to mitigate burnout around the world. So, if you’re looking for a way to incentivize giving PTO benefits at work, consider offering additional compensation when taking PTO. Take, for instance, Evernote, a productivity software company recognized as one of Inc.’s Best Workplaces in 2022. 

At Evernote, employees who take a continuous five-day break are rewarded with a $1,000 bonus. While many businesses may reimburse certain vacation expenses, what sets Evernote apart is its distinctive policy of providing a straightforward $1,000 bonus upon the employee’s return.

When employees don’t have a predetermined number of paid vacation days to “budget,” they sometimes end up taking less time off than they would otherwise. To ensure that your employees are taking adequate time to unwind and prioritize self-care, offering incentives or even mandating regular time off can be an effective strategy. This not only promotes a healthier work-life balance but also acknowledges the importance of rest and rejuvenation for overall employee well-being.

Buy/Sell Vacation Programs

In the dynamic landscape of changing modern PTO benefits, the traditional approach to vacation policies is evolving, giving rise to innovative programs such as Buy/Sell Vacation Programs as seen at companies like KPMG. 

Unlike the conventional use-it-or-lose-it vacation model seen in states like California, these programs introduce a level of flexibility that empowers employees to customize their time off habits according to their unique preferences and needs.

Here’s how it works

In this policy, employees are usually given the option to either buy additional vacation days beyond their allotted quota or sell back unused days to the company. This two-way street allows individuals to tailor their time off to align with personal circumstances, providing a refreshing departure from the one-size-fits-all vacation policies.

On the buying side, employees who crave an extended break or desire more control over their downtime can purchase extra vacation days. This not only provides a sense of autonomy but also acknowledges the diverse needs and priorities of the workforce. Whether it’s planning an extended vacation, tackling a personal project, or simply enjoying some extra leisure time, the Buy/Sell Vacation Programs cater to a range of aspirations.

Conversely, on the selling side, employees who find themselves with unused vacation days can opt to sell them back to the company. This not only ensures that accrued days don’t go to waste but also allows individuals to convert their unused time into additional compensation, creating a win-win scenario for both employees and employers.

Offering Employees a Sabbatical

Think of sabbaticals as hitting the refresh button on your professional journey.

Sabbaticals are an extended break from work that goes beyond traditional vacation time. Unlike regular time off, which is usually shorter and more frequent, sabbaticals involve an extended period away from work, often ranging from a few weeks to several months or even a year.

During a sabbatical, employees typically take a hiatus from their regular work responsibilities to pursue personal development, recharge, or engage in activities that contribute to their overall well-being. This time away is not only seen as a chance for rest but also as an opportunity for learning, reflection, and personal growth.

Ways to structure a sabbatical

Sabbaticals can be structured in various ways, depending on the needs of your organization. 

Some organizations offer paid sabbaticals as part of their employee benefits package, allowing employees to take time off with financial support. In contrast, others may have unpaid sabbatical options where employees can take an extended break while maintaining their job security.

The purpose of sabbaticals extends beyond just traditional PTO benefits. Beyond the much-needed rest, a sabbatical is a golden opportunity for learning, deep reflection, and personal growth. It’s like a self-discovery journey, where employees come back not just refreshed but with a backpack full of new skills, insights, and a renewed zest for life. It aims to provide employees with the space and time needed to explore new interests, learn new skills, and return to work with a renewed sense of purpose and enthusiasm. 

Sabbaticals are viewed as a proactive approach to employee well-being, recognizing that periodic breaks can contribute to long-term job satisfaction and overall career fulfillment. What’s not to love about that? 

The bottom line 

As we venture into the new year, consider these PTO benefits not just as additions to a package but as investments in the collective well-being and satisfaction of your team. 

After all, a workplace that recognizes the importance of downtime is not just a workplace—it’s a thriving community where both employees and employers find mutual success. From the allure of offering easy-on-the-pocket vacations and friendly travel stipends to the strategic appeal of incentivized PTO, this diverse array of unique benefits is sure to offer a touch of innovation to your company’s traditional HR and employee benefits landscape!

Snigdha Gupta
Snigdha Gupta

An avid writer and aspiring marketer, Snigdha is a student at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business.

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