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  • Vincent Tong

Understand the Differences: Paid Time Off vs. Unlimited Time Off

In California, many employers offer Paid Time Off (PTO). However, there is a growing trend, especially in certain sectors, like the tech sector, where employers are offering their employees Unlimited Time Off (UTO) to entice them to join the company. It is important for employees to understand why Unlimited Time Off is actually bad for employees.

Unlimited Time Off, in its purest form, is a policy that could offer employees the ability to take as much time off as they need. However, employees who utilize an Unlimited Time Off policy will typically require their employees to request and obtain prior approval before they can take any time off. If the request for time off under an Unlimited Time Off policy is not approved, in part or in full, the employees would not be able to take advantage of the policy.

On the other hand, an employer who offers Paid Time Off allows employees to take time off from work and receive their regular pay for the hours they would have worked. This can apply to vacation time, sick days, and personal days. The amount of PTO is typically earned as the employees remain employed and working for the employer. PTO hours are also accrued if the employee does not use the earned PTO hours.

The major benefit that PTO offers over Unlimited Time Off is the ability for the employee to get paid out for those PTO hours accrued but not used.

Although an employer may pitch having Unlimited Time Off to sound more flexible and employee-friendly, in actuality, it is not. It is critical for employees to understand the potential drawbacks and limitations of this policy.

TONG LAW is available to assist employees in navigating these employment issues and help you protect your employment rights. If you have any employment law questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us by filling out the form on our website at

Attorney Advertising: Information contained on this website is for general information only. Nothing on this website should be construed to be legal advice and no attorney-client relationship has been formed.

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