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PTO Power

January 23, 2017

Do you feel like you deserve a bigger raise? Didn’t get quite what you were looking for this year? Well then give yourself a raise. How about a raise to the tune of 6%. Unlike your annual 3% merit raise though, you’re actually going to have to work for this one. How can you simply give yourself a raise?  Well sometimes if something isn’t given to you the only way to get it is to take it. Read on to see how you might be able to manufacture yourself a raise.

 

My Story

 

At my prior job we were offered a generous paid time off (PTO) program. Because I had been there for several years I was accruing 5 weeks of PTO per year. This was to be used however we saw fit, whether it was for sick time, mental health days, or traveling the globe. We could also accumulate a total of two times the yearly PTO allowance. Since it was such a large accrual amount I was able to quickly increase the balance. At one point I was fully maxed out. 400 hours of hard earned PTO. Pretty crazy to think of all of the cool things that could be done. The options seemed endless. Take a couple of months and travel to a different continent for example. Or plan on going to work only 2 days a week for the entire winter and just snowboard on off days. In fact I could have taken the full 10 weeks of PTO in a row and by the time I had to go back to work I would have accumulated an additional week to take off. Or I could just try to maintain that balance and receive the pay for those hours once I left the company. And that’s exactly what I did (almost). As you can see below from my final paycheck I ended up receiving nearly 365 hours of pay. All for just showing up to my normal job. This amounted to a little over 9 weeks of full pay. To top it off the company even matched their 401(k) contribution on the hours. Talk about a nice going away present.

 

 

 

 

Not All Companies Are Created Equal

 

Unfortunately the typical PTO program at most companies is not as generous as the one mentioned above. Not everyone is entitled to paid time off either. Most large companies will offer some sort of PTO program but it also usually varies based on years of service. Comparing companies is also difficult since some of them will group all paid time off together while others will actually separate sick days, personal time, and floating holidays.

 

PTO Value

 

To put a dollar amount on your PTO program simply take the number of days you get per year and divide that by 260 (roughly the number of days in a year for which you’re paid). Next take this number and multiply it by your annual salary. This is the amount which you could actually get paid out for upon leaving the company. For example, if someone makes $60,000 a year and receives 15 days off for PTO per year then their paid time off could be worth $3,462 – per year. If the employee works the full year and then leaves the company at the end of the year then they would get paid their salary plus the PTO payout, so they’d actually make $63,462 for the year, thus obtaining a 5.8% increase. The wonderful thing is that any actual raise you do receive in your true pay is automatically included in the payout. If you start working at the company making $17 an hour but in several years you end up making $30 a hour then your PTO payout should be at the full $30 per hour mark.

 

Considerations

 

Understandably you won’t want to go several years without taking a day off, but what you can do is slowly build up your PTO balance. That way whenever you do leave the company you receive a nice little bonus. Before considering this though be sure to check that your employer does in fact pay out PTO balances upon separation. Some states actually require it if they do offer a PTO program but other states do not. Sometimes it must be written within your company’s policies or handbook to be enforced. Another item you want to do is to verify how many hours are actually accrued per year and how many you can have in balance at any point in time. 

 

If you’re reading this post you’re probably looking for ways to earn a little income on the side, aka a side hustle. Some of you have probably even entertained the idea of getting a second job. Although you won’t get nearly as many hours as a second job, by focusing on increasing your PTO balance you’ll basically be receiving free money for simply working your day job. Another nice thing about this is that you’re receiving, most likely, a higher hourly rate than if you were to get a second job, since your full time job is probably the most lucrative.

 

Is this method of giving yourself a raise for everyone? Definitely not. For starters to actually get paid out for the hours you would have to leave the company. This presents a large problem but with how often people seek new jobs nowadays it’s just something to keep in the back of your mind. Sometimes companies will actually purchase the PTO hours from you at a reduced rate.  This could be something to look into. Also many people would rather be out of the office as much as humanly possible while others will have natural reasons for missing days, such as being sick or tending for others. The one thing that I do know though is that you can count on me being at the office, unless I’m traveling to the beaches of Cartagena, Colombia.

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