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WorldatWork Releases Paid Time Off Survey

Workplace Flexibility Top Motivator for Employers Implementing a Paid Time Off Bank Program

Oct. 7, 2014 — WASHINGTON, D.C. — Workplace flexibility ranked as the primary motivator cited by employers for implementing a paid time off (PTO) bank leave system for employees, according to a 2014 WorldatWork survey, "Paid Time Off Programs and Practices" released today in conjunction with National Work & Family Month. Forty-nine percent of the respondents who indicated they use a PTO bank system cited granting employees more flexibility as the primary motivator for implementing a PTO bank system.

WorldatWork conducted a survey of its membership to better understand usage by employers of PTO bank systems – typically defined plans that offer a combined bucket of available days to be used for a variety of types of absences – and traditional leave (e.g., vacation time, sick time and personal days) programs and practices. WorldatWork conducted similar surveys in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

Percent of Companies Using Paid Time Off Programs

"PTO banks give employees more control over managing their time off, and therefore, offer more flexibility. Employers tend to see PTO banks as an appealing option for attraction and retention and overall ease of administration," said Lenny Sanicola, WorldatWork senior practice leader. "However, this year’s data show us that PTO bank style programs, while appropriate for some organizations, are not for everyone. After considerable growth in usage over the past 12 years, the 2014 data show the trend of moving from a traditional leave system to a PTO bank system seems to have leveled out."

WorldatWork's Alliance for Work-Life Progress first established October as National Work & Family Month in 2003. It is nationally recognized by members of Congress, businesses, academic institutions, work-life advocacy groups and individuals aiming to succeed at home and on the job. The goal is to encourage employers to think strategically about family-friendly policies and work-life benefits such as workplace flexibility, health and wellness, dependent care, community involvement, organizational culture, financial security, and paid and unpaid time off to attract, motivate and retain a talented workforce

According to the 2014 report, 56% of respondents reported offering a traditional leave system, 41% offered a PTO bank type system, and 2% indicated "other" as to what type of leave system they offer.

A few additional highlights from the 2014 survey:

  • The top three primary motivators for implementing a PTO-bank system are "to grant employees more flexibility" (49%), "easier to administer" (20%), and "to stay competitive with other companies" (14%).
  • For 2010, the top three primary motivators for implementing a PTO structure were, "easier to administer" (38%), "to stay competitive with other companies" (26%), and "reduce absenteeism" (21%). This shows that absenteeism is no longer a top reason; it dropped from 21% in 2010 to 7% in 2014.
  • In 2014, 72% of health-care and social-assistance companies use a PTO bank type system, which is not surprising because PTO banks primarily originated in the hospital industry and in other organizations that have 24/7 operations.
  • Organization sizes between 1,000 and 9,999 are more likely to have traditional leave systems versus PTO bank systems. In larger organizations, it is not unusual to find PTO banks because these programs are easier to administer than traditional systems.
  • Organizations with PTO banks are more likely to offer paid time off to part-time employees (81%) versus organizations with traditional leave systems (69%).
  • In 2010, only 40% of organizations allowed employees to use paid time off as of the date of hire. This number increased to 56% in 2014.

*Figure numbers referenced are from the 2014 WorldatWork survey, "Paid time Off Programs and Practices."

About WorldatWork's Alliance for Work-Life Progress

WorldatWork's Alliance for Work-Life Progress advances work-life as part of an integrated total rewards strategy. This alliance defines and acknowledges best practices and innovation, facilitates dialogue, and elevates work-life thought leadership. Each year, the alliance leads a national awareness initiative celebrating October as National Work & Family Month. Recognizing that work-life encompasses a wide array of programs, the WorldatWork Society of Certified Professionals established the Work-Life Certified Professional (WLCP) designation in 2007.

About WorldatWork®

The Total Rewards Association

WorldatWork ( is a nonprofit human resources association for professionals and organizations focused on compensation, benefits, work-life effectiveness and total rewards — strategies to attract, motivate and retain an engaged and productive workforce. WorldatWork and its affiliates provide comprehensive education, certification, research, advocacy and community, enhancing careers of professionals and, ultimately, achieving better results for the organizations they serve. WorldatWork has more than 70,000 members and subscribers worldwide; 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies employ a WorldatWork member. Founded in 1955, WorldatWork is affiliated with more than 70 local human resources associations and has offices in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Washington, D.C.

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