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Paid time off (PTO) is a feature in some employee agreements that provides a "resource" of hours that an employee can draw from to take time off from work, without having to specify a reason.

Generally PTO hours cover everything from planned vacations to sick days. Unlike more traditional leave plans, companies with PTO plans do not separate time off from work between "vacation days" and "sick days".

For healthy employees, PTO can be an attractive benefit because, in general, they are offered more vacation time under a PTO plan than they would be under a plan that differentiates sick leave and vacation. The corollary to this is that employees tend to be out more frequently, which can be seen as a drawback for the employers. Another negative is that an employee who becomes ill, not having any dedicated sick time, might be forced to choose between either working while sick (usually at a lower rate of productivity, and often causing other employees to get sick), or cancelling a planned vacation (which can be a major financial loss if it's a non-refundable vacation). On the other hand, an advantage is that a worker will be honest in scheduling time off in advance, allowing the company to plan around the absence, rather than "calling in sick" at the last minute.

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