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Table Of Contents

What Is Flexible Time Off & How Does It Work?

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Table Of Contents

Ever wished for greater flexibility while taking time off? Well, then you better thank your lucky stars — because it’s now quickly becoming a reality. More and more companies worldwide are now offering a flexible time off policy to their employees. But what exactly does this type of time-off policy entail? And how exactly does it work? We’re here to break it all down for you.

What exactly is flexible time off?

To put it simply, flexible time off is like a vacation with no strings attached—you can take time off for however long is necessary, whenever you need it.

A flexible time off policy aims to offer employees a greater amount of flexibility with regard to their time off from work. AKA, it allows for more flexible reasons for taking time off. In essence, it is a company benefit that gives employees time off to do whatever they want. No rules, no regulations. You can take full control of your time off.

Wanna know the best part? You can use all your time off without having to earn or accrue any of it. This is different from traditional work settings, which allow a certain amount of paid time off per pay period. A flexible time off program allows employees to take vacations, sick leaves, or other leave for any non-essential reasons that would otherwise prevent them from taking time off.

This added flexibility in your schedule means that you can use it as a sick day, to take a vacation, a day off to catch up on chores, or even to stay at home and binge-watch The Office on your couch with some Chinese takeout. You decide.

How does it work?

Some organizations provide an unlimited amount of flexible time off, while others offer a set amount of days employees can use each month or year as they choose. But this is totally up to the individual needs, size, and location of your company.

One of the most important aspects of this type of leave policy is that it combines both sick leave and vacation time. In other words, rather than receiving 5 days of sick leave and 10 days of paid time off per year, employees will receive a total of 20 days off that they can take as they wish. 

Is it just us or did HR teams all around the world just breathe a collective sigh of relief? Just imagine how much easier calculating employee leave balances is gonna be now.

Who uses it?

Adopting flexible time off policies has proven to be particularly suitable for companies whose employees work outside of the usual 9-5 schedule. It’s also observed in workplaces that take a more progressive approach to work, such as in hybrid or fully remote settings. Hence, this policy is extremely popular in tech companies worldwide, with names like Facebook and LinkedIn being one of the many early adopters of it.

Isn’t this an unlimited time off policy?

This might seem to be the case. But it’s not.

The terms flexible and unlimited paid time off are often used interchangeably, but there is a significant difference between the two. PTO policies with unlimited time off are exactly what they sound like — employees can take as much or as little time off as they like. Some flexible PTO policies can be unlimited, but they are not necessarily so. 

PTO policies can be flexible about the kind of time employees can take off, but can still impose rigid caps on the number of days off employees can take.

Why adopt a flexible time policy?

Are you constantly hoarding your PTO and inviting burnout into your life in fear that you’ll never have enough for both family emergencies and/or vacations? You’re not alone.

A survey conducted by TakeBackYourTime.org found that 54% of employees don’t take a vacation to save it for emergencies, and 34% of employees simply never take vacations with their families.

Some employees are known to use their vacation time as an emergency fund in case they are laid off. Hence, the problem of too much unused paid time off in the books becomes even more pronounced. Some employers have switched to flexible or unlimited time off policies as a result.

The benefits

A major benefit of flexible PTO policies is that they can be adapted to accommodate today’s increasingly diverse workforce. Many people do not celebrate all religious holidays, and for others, birthdays are more important than national holidays. Additionally, flexible PTO policies can accommodate alternative types of days off like mental health or wellness days. What’s not to like about that?

In the end, establishing trust is key—management needs to trust that employees are managing their PTO appropriately and are not abusing it. Furthermore, having such a policy can show your people that you truly care about them. It can aid in boosting employee retention, helping you attract top talent, and making your company a more attractive place to work at.

The bottom line

Ultimately, setting up flexible time off policies seems to be a win-win for employers and employees alike. Employers benefit from keeping absenteeism off their books by keeping their people motivated, engaged and happy. On the other hand, employees also benefit from the freedom to take time off on their own terms. In the end, flexible time off is a new concept in the modern workplace. There are plenty of reasons to give this kind of policy a try, so what are you waiting for?

Whether you choose to implement this type of time off policy or not, tracking and automating your organization’s leave management is ridiculously easy with a tool such as Vacation Tracker.

Our leave management solution makes it easy to request, approve and manage your team’s time-off from the comfort of your workspace. In addition to that, our users can also customize our tool to fit into the way they work. This includes creating different locations, setting up different leave policies, and configuring multiple leave types. Furthermore, the online dashboard lets you export reports, integrate with your favorite calendar, get notifications, and much more! 

Furthermore, over 1,500 companies trust us to handle their leave tracking problems. All our plans also come with a 7-day trial. This way, you can take our tool for a test drive before making your decision to purchase. Get started now!

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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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