Towarnicky Theorem #4: It is written somewhere that paid time off must vary directly with length of service, NOT.
A Sibson Segal survey earlier this century (before the Great Recession) showed over 50% of Americans would change employers for as little as three more days of vacation. I bring this up to confirm that many associates value time off more than pay - that is, we used to offer a vacation purchase program and we were always surprised by the level of utilization.
Anyway, 15 years ago, as my leadership considered potential improvements in vacation (because we were not "competitive" at certain service cohorts), I recommended that we actually make a change to eliminate the service-based accrual distinctions - the proposal would have taken 15 years to fully phase in. My Total Rewards argument went something like - let's provide everyone the amount of paid time off we believe is optimal for rest/recharge, and then take the reductions in cost (lower the amount of pay for time not worked) and incorporate it into direct compensation awards (performance incentives for top performers). Then, offer the high performers a choice of added incentives (bonus payment) and allow them to instead convert it to time off.
Nope. That proposal exposed the fact that management of the day did not trust their ability to effectively assess performance across the enterprise (i.e., the performance management/assessment process was not consistently applied). Making time off awards part of the rewards program, instead of an entitlement based on past service, introduced the potential for conflict.
The proposal went nowhere. I still have it somewhere if you like.