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Recently, the company my friend worked for changed its vacation policy from an accrual system to a PTO model in an effort to standardize its HR policies with the company it acquired. Under the accrual system employees were allotted a certain number of days to use for vacation, illness, or personal time. Even though he was given six sick days a year, he never used them. He might have considered taking one for a major dental procedure, but he would never have taken a day just because he was feeling under the weather. For those in supervisor positions at his company it was just not done, which meant that every year he lost six sick days.

As with any change, there are winners and losers, but there are often also some who are stuck in the middle. While the amount of time off my friend received under the new PTO model was technically less than the combined amount he had under the accrual system since the days were no longer classified as vacation, sick, or personal days, there were no more taboo days. Still, like many other managers, he struggled to adjust to the new system. Near the end of the first year that the PTO system went into effect, HR sent out an email reminding everyone to schedule their remaining days. Since my friend thought that it would irresponsible to use all of his days, he left two or three on the books. Those days were subsequently taken from him because the PTO policy was use or lose. Of course that didn’t bother him, as he was still approaching his time off as he had under the accrual system — managers simply don’t use all of their allotted days.

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