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What’s the PTO Average in the U.S.?

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It’s no surprise that the average PTO and sick days in the U.S. vary by state. What may surprise you is that PTO is a benefit that is as crucial as healthcare coverage to employees. Whether in a small or in a large company, workers value their time off. Some employees would even call it their favorite benefit!

Therefore, if you are a small business owner, or if you are running the HR department of an organization, you need to know the statistics about the paid time off average in your state. You may also want to stay informed about the PTO average across the country, and maybe even in other parts of the world. Indeed, many companies now have offices that span multiple continents and time zones!

Since Paid Time Off (also known as Annual Leave) is such an important benefit, it’s important for employers to offer a competitive PTO package. Yet, what does it mean to be competitive in this area? This is where companies need to look at their competition and keep track of the competition’s PTO average.

What’s the PTO Average in the U.S.?

In the U.S., employees typically get ten (10) paid days off after one full year on the job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is true for private-sector employees. In fact, your average PTO can vary based on the industry. Public sector workers tend to have more paid time off. Location and an employee’s tenure with the company will also affect the time off he or she is entitled to.

However, paid time off does not include sick days or statutory holidays, which may also vary from state to state.

Guidelines for Increasing Average PTO Days 

Generally speaking, an employee’s PTO should increase over time. This increase is very gradual, on average. Indeed, in a typical American small business, employees will earn an extra three (3) to four (4) days of paid time off for every five years of service. This data also comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This increase is very gradual. In fact, it is estimated that an average U.S. worker has only accumulated three weeks of paid vacation by the time he has spent 10 years with an employer.

Moreover, the average number of days of PTO also seems to vary by the size of a privately owned corporation. Interestingly enough, the larger the company, the more days of paid time off the employees seem to have. In companies of 100 workers or more, the average number of days of PTO is 19, after 10 years of service. Whereas it is only 15, on average, for firms that have fewer than 99 employees.

In fact, the industry may also have something to do with it.

How Does PTO Average Vary By Industry?

There is a significant difference in the national average PTO after one year of service in different industries. In a survey of over 600 small businesses from various industries, there were large differences in the number of PTO days after one year of service.

For example, non-profits or foundations had a PTO average of 17.5 days. However, Marketing or Public Relations firms didn’t guarantee their employees any time off, even after a year of service.

This shouldn’t be misinterpreted. Marketing and Public Relations firms may just have different policies. Or, they may compensate with other benefits. It also tends to be an industry that hires very young employees, who are likely to skip from company to company frequently.

Therefore, they may never stay a full year, or long enough to accumulate their PTO. In fact, there are other factors that affect PTO, such as tenure and age.

Surely, an employee’s age will affect how many days of paid time off he or she has on average.

Other notable industries that seem to allocate a lot of importance to PTO are the government and the military, utility industries, manufacturing, and agriculture.

On the other hand, industries that do not have a very high PTO average after one year of service are: consulting, accounting and advertising.

How Does the PTO Average Vary Across Different States?

We’ve seen that paid time off days can vary by industry. Yet it seems that the national average time off for one year of service also varies by state.

According to statistics obtained from small businesses in different U.S. states, it looks like the Northeast states offer a more generous PTO allowance. Here’s what the average PTO looks like around the U.S:

  • The average in the Northeastern states, such as New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, or Connecticut, is of 11.4 days.
  • Their neighbors to the South, in states such as Louisiana, Georgia Tennessee, Alabama, or Florida, only have 8.5 days of paid time off, on average, after a year of service.
  • States in the Midwest also have an average of 8.5 days. While Californians and other Western states have 9.4 days of paid time off, on average.

For more information on PTO in the U.S.A. by state, check out our Leave Laws page. To avoid any misunderstandings that could lead to legal implications, be sure to document your PTO policy carefully in your employee manual.

And for a hassle-free PTO tracking solution, get a demo of Vacation Tracker, or sign up for our 7-day free trial!

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Kristina Ousmanova
Kristina Ousmanova

Kristina recently left behind fast-paced life of Human Resource Business Consulting to freelance as a Content Writer. A regular Vacation Tracker contributor, she can be found working remotely from her home in Montreal, usually while eating a variety of snacks.

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