1. PTO is NOT legally required. Neither federal nor state law requires an employer to provide its employees with vacation days or other form of paid time off. Interesting to note that employers aren’t legally required to even provide paid time off for lunch or breaks during the work day (expect for employees under the age of 16).
2. Employers that adopt vacation policies are required to implement them fairly (no discrimination) and follow them consistently. The policies can (and should) address a variety of parameters, such as: (i) number of days, (ii) accrual issues, (iii) carry-over issues, (iv) conversion issues, (v) forfeiture issues, and (vi) transition issues. The basic notion under Virginia law is that an employer is free to create its own PTO policy (or not), but if it does adopt one, then it needs to follow it.
3. To attract and retain high performing employees, a generous and creative PTO policy can go a long way toward accomplishing both of those important goals while also enhancing the value of your business. Don’t underestimate how effective an attractive PTO policy can be in cultivating a loyal and high-functioning team.
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