There's a rumor that my firm is transitioning to unlimited PTO sometime soon. What happens to the PTO already accrued? I have planned family/medical leave in spring that I have been saving up for (firm only offers 1 week parental + 5 weeks STD) and so far what I've heard is leave + unlimited PTO = complicated. Has anyone been in a similar situation? Or at least experienced the transition from accrued to unlimited?

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I was at gt when transition came in, everyone got paid out. There is a fine print “unlimited PTO if approved” Issue was that less people started taking time off. They made you jump through so many hoops. They had a utilization calculator that no one knew how to check so people just made up %’s. Followed by the approval process, many people would delay approving and suggest moving it back due to client deadlines. Well issue with highly utilized individuals were they always had deadlines to meet, especially on the provision side. The only people who benefited were the ones no one wanted to work with and they were able to take 2 months at staff and senior level. But if you can get that much time off then your about to be out the door.

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Regarding the vacation time, you'll likely need to take a 6 week leave of absence (unpaid), as I've never seen anyone take more than a 3 week gap of time off. So if you had planned to use your currently saved up PTO hours, you'll need to save a chunk of that big PTO pay out for the upcoming trip. It's essentially the same as using your PTO except requires a little financial planning on your end. I've seen multiple people take unpaid leaves of absence, mostly seniors who needed time off to complete CPA's, without much issue. As you said, once the transition is confirmed, meet with HR to get the time off approved. Best of luck OP

I wish it were a trip :) I know it'll get approved as it's covered under FMLA. If they do a payout then I can certainly stash that in a high yield savings for a bit and use it while on leave if necessary. However, I'm hoping with the policy change they'll follow in big4 footsteps and provide better parental leave unrelated to PTO. Thanks for the good luck wishes!

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I’ve only seen this transition a few times. In those cases they paid out any accrued but unused time off as of a certain cutoff date. Then everyone was on unlimited Unlimited PTO is a scam for employees - it helps the company by getting the PTO accrual off their balance sheet and they don’t have to pay out accrued time off when people terminate. Employees rarely take any additional time compared to the former policy (and may need their time off approved)

likesmart

It is not a scam but you have to take ownership of your PTO. Put in early for whatever days you want. Communicate and you can enjoy more time off. Set guard rails that you don’t work or answer emails on your time off. A few weeks before put in your signature in red that you are off from x date to x date. There are plenty of people who take very good advantage of this. One thing I do, is every January I pick days and weeks I want off.

likefunny

I have been through this twice when promoted to VP (only VPs had unlimited). Once I got paid out, once I didn’t. Then unlimited PTO was given to all employees, and they were paid out. Overall unlimited PTO is a sham. Under normal circumstances everyone has a small balance at any time, and gets paid out when they leave. With no balance, companies don’t pay out departing employees. Further, people just take less time with unlimited.

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VP 1: I am familiar with the idea that it's not actually unlimited, just that it's more flexible (potentially). My concern is of the 12 weeks I'm allowed to be gone on medical leave, only 6 of those are covered by benefits (STD and parental leave) but the other 6 require the use of PTO if I want them paid. With "unlimited" PTO, I have nothing accrued and I'm not actually taking vacation which has been used in the past to deny employees paid leave (albeit a big ethical and discrimination issue). Ideally the parental leave policies will change with the PTO policies, but I'm not confident---big part of why part of my original post asks about unlimited pto + leave. Although maybe other firms just have appropriate parental leave that doesn't require the parent to take PTO in the first place.

funnylike

I may work at the same firm as you also as I’ve heard similar speculations. Or maybe more than one firm is making this change soon. I don’t know what they will do as far as the transition though.

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That sounds like the biggest trap. You have a right to take your PTO now but I guarantee that changes if it’s unlimited

likehelpful

In some states accrued PTO is legally the same as wages so it has to be paid out.

likesmart

M1- regular leaving. Sorry, should have clarified. I was saying that there’s usually safe harbor provisions and employers need to have a written policy on when they can take away PTO. If losing it for converting to unlimited isn’t mentioned, they’re likely obliged to pay it out because otherwise it’d be stealing wages just like not paying it out, and you’d have a case to sue them.

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Long run, you’re boned.

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That's what I've gathered. Trying to decide on whether I jump ship after making senior next year, or before busy season this year. Paid family leave is going to be a big part of that decision (more for the principle than the money tbh)

I worked for a company that switched from accrual to “use it or lose it.” The way it worked is employees who had accrual balances would use those up by taking pto or the company would pay it out on separation, and then after that would switch to “use it or lose it.” I remember management was pressuring everyone to take their accrual time off. I told them no since I had another job lined up and wanted my accrual paid out lol

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OP I have a feeling we work at the same firm...I’m sure we will get paid out the accrued balance and if the rumors are true I’m sure the changes won’t happen until December at the earliest

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When GT did this we got paid out $.

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Has anyone ever truly tested “unlimited PTO” i.e. try to take a year off or something?

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We have unlimited sick leave. Had a manager get cancer and take off like nine months for chemo and recover. He’s been back for a few years now.

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Would be great if Deloitte switched to unlimited and had to pay out $14k to me lol

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^^ also depends on the state I believe

We have an “unlimited” PTO policy. They push everyone to schedule 30 days off. If you go past that 30 due to unforeseen circumstances, that’s when the “unlimited” comes into play. They push for no more than 30 days, but it’s there if you need it.

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You get PTO for getting an STD?

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I hope you're joking lol. Short term disability. If we need more time than the STD insurance covers, we have to take PTO (so anything over 6 weeks up to 12). I think KPMG is about 4 months paid, just the parental leave portion, no PTO involved.

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Our firm is moving to unlimited time off and our firm told us that we need to use it up as usual or you will get paid out when separating from the company

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Grant Thornton switched to unlimited PTO 5 or 6 years ago. Everyone’s accrued PTO balance was paid out at that time. What we saw was low performers starting to take significantly more PTO than high performers making them easier to weed out over the 2-3 years that followed.

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And this is why unlimited PTO is a scam. I use every second of KPMG’s PTO allowance, and have consistently been designated a high performer. Accrued PTO brings with it an expectation it’ll be eventually used. Unlimited you have people looking down on you for taking it.

smart

Which firm?

I had a reply, saw it posted twice, removed one of them which removed both. Technology gets to me sometimes. Reposting info for anyone else interested. Mid-size firm, rumors are not substantiated yet so I'm hesitant to say the name. The only concrete info we have is an internal message from the managing partner that big changes to the PTO policy are coming.

You’ll need to reach out to your firm HR department. Usually, you get payout, you’ll have to use you accred PTO before the unlimited option, or you’ll bank it and paid upon your exit from the firm

The short answer is that it depends on your state. My firm transitioned to unlimited PTO on Jan. 1st, and in some states, they’re required to pay out that remaining PTO balance to employees who leave before the end of the year.

When we switched over to unlimited we got paid out.

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