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Everything You Need to Know About PTO Etiquette

Here’s the deal: If you’re like most Americans, you don’t take the paid time off (PTO) that your employer has given you. Even before the pandemic, we only used about half of the PTO our employers provide. In 2020, CNBC says, “workers left almost all of their vacation days on the table.” If you’re lucky enough that your employer offers PTO, it’s your “job” to make sure you use it. But you may have stepped into a culture where taking time off to take care of yourself is frowned upon. Here’s some etiquette that will help you take time off you need without feeling ashamed or bad about it.

How to Feel Good About Using That PTO

It turns out there is some etiquette around asking for time off when you start a new job. Given that most companies consider the first three months a trial period, it’s bad form to ask for time off during that time.
Even if you’ve been in your job a while, it may be harder to take time off during some kind of peak production season. During these times, it might make sense to take a Friday and a Monday off combined with a weekend. That way, you’re not gone during a big chunk of the workweek. (That’s also a good way to seem like you’re lengthening your vacation time by maximizing the weekends off.)
Having a good relationship with your supervisor requires that you give him or her ample notice of the time you want off. Unless you’re experiencing an emergency, it’s important to give a couple of weeks’ notice (more if you can) that you need some time off.
Maximize your PTO by syncing it with your holiday calendar along the same lines. It’s another great way to stretch the time you have off. Sometimes having shorter vacations is a good way to break up your PTO, and it gives you more frequent breaks from work, too.
You can also take bigger vacations during the off-season. These bigger vacations require advance planning, so it’s not a bad idea to schedule them out months from today.
To recap, job etiquette starts with your ability to organize your efforts to take PTO. For example:

  • Don’t start out your tenure at a new job by asking for time off right out of the gate.
  • Think about which times of year work with the company’s production schedule so that you can take time off during slower times.
  • Maximize your PTO by bookending paid holidays and weekend time between the PTO.
  • Ask for PTO well in advance to stay on the good side of your boss.

Find a Company with Great PTO Benefits with Our Recruiters

If you’ve followed all of these written rules but you’re still not managing to take vacation time. Or, your boss or culture frowns on time off, talk to Lingo Staffing. We help people find meaningful, productive work at companies that also take care of their teams. Contact us today.

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