# What is the Average PTO Accrual Rate?

Are you trying to build your company’s PTO policy, and not sure how much PTO you should provide?

You’re probably not alone. There’s little to no guidance (particularly if you’re based in the US) on what a normal accrual rate is, making it hard to know whether your policy is above or below average.

We’re here to help. Keep reading and we’ll share some data on the average PTO accrual rate, and help you decide the right amount of PTO for your team.

## What is PTO Accrual Rate?

PTO accrual rate means how much PTO an employee earns for each accrual period.

To calculate accrual rate, start with your accrual frequency, which is how often PTO accrues (e.g. monthly, weekly, biweekly).

From there, you can take the total amount employees should earn for a full year of working, and divide that amount by the accrual frequency.

For example, if your PTO policy provides a total of 18 days PTO, and employees accrue PTO each month, the accrual rate works out to be **1.5 days per month** (18 days divided by 12 months).

The same example, with weekly accrual, would be approximately **0.35 days per week** (18 days divided by 52 weeks).

Alternatively, some companies may work it out in hours, which typically equates one day of work to eight hours (so accruing 1.5 days per month would be equal to 12 hours per month).

For more, check out our full guide to PTO accruals here.

## Average PTO in the US

Now let’s look at some data to see what we can learn about the average PTO accrual rate.

We’ll want to start with the average amount of PTO American employees get per year.

(note that PTO can refer to many different forms of leave, but for the purposes of this article, we’re using it to mean vacation time).

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), workers get the following number of vacation days on average, based on how long they’ve worked in the company:

- 11 days (after one year of service time)
- 15 days (after five years of service time)
- 18 days (after ten years of service time)
- 20 days (after 20 years of service time)

### Average Accrual Rate

Using the information above, we can assume that the average PTO allowance is likely somewhere between 11-15 days per year (we’ll assume 15 days for now).

This, of course, doesn’t account for *all workers *in the US, as 23% of workers still do not have access to paid vacation time at all.

However, we can come up with the average accrual rate for US workers who have access to paid vacation.

Assuming 15 days per year on average, that would make the average PTO accrual rate:

- 1.25 days per month
- 0.58 days per two weeks
- 0.29 days per week

In hours (15 days equating to 120 hours per year):

- 10 hours per month
- 4.62 hours per two weeks
- 2.31 hours per week

## Average PTO Around the World

So we know what to expect from US businesses. However, the US is one of the worst countries in the world for paid leave laws, with no federal (and few state) laws requiring companies to provide paid time off.

So what about other countries? Is the average accrual rate any different?

Here are the minimum paid leave (meaning PTO, vacation time or annual leave) allowances for each country in the OECD:

Country | Statutory Minimum PTO Days Per Year |
---|---|

Australia | 20 |

Austria | 25 |

Belgium | 20 |

Bulgaria | 20 |

Canada | 10 |

Chile | 15 |

Costa Rica | 10 |

Croatia | 20 |

Cyprus | 20 |

Czech Republic | 20 |

Denmark | 25 |

Estonia | 20 |

Finland | 25 |

France | 25 |

Germany | 20 |

Greece | 20 |

Hungary | 20 |

Iceland | 24 |

Ireland | 20 |

Israel | 12 |

Italy | 20 |

Japan | 10 |

Korea | 15 |

Latvia | 20 |

Lithuania | 20 |

Luxembourg | 26 |

Malta | 24 |

Mexico | 6 |

Netherlands | 20 |

New Zealand | 20 |

Norway | 21 |

Poland | 20 |

Portugal | 22 |

Romania | 20 |

Slovak Republic | 20 |

Slovenia | 20 |

Spain | 22 |

Sweden | 25 |

Switzerland | 20 |

Turkey | 12 |

United Kingdom | 28 |

United States | 0 |

The average comes out to **19.10 days per year** (median 20 days per year).

### Average Accrual Rate (OECD)

If we took the average statutory minimum across these nations, we’d get the following accrual rates:

- Monthly accrual: 1.59 days / 12.73 hours
- Biweekly accrual: 0.73 days / 5.88 hours
- Weekly accrual: 0.37 days / 2.94 hours

These are all a small, yet significant amount above the averages from the US – and remember that these are the* statutory minimums*; some companies may provide more than this, so the real averages across these nations is likely to be higher.

## What Should Your PTO Accrual Rate Be?

Based on the data above, we know that the average PTO accrual rate in the US is 1.25 days/10 hours per month, while the average statutory minimum accrual rate across OECD countries is 1.59 days/12.73 hours per month.

When you’re trying to decide on the ideal accrual rate for your PTO policy, this is a good starting point (along with what, if anything, the law says you have to provide).

But you may not want to automatically settle on the average accrual rate and call it a day.

You want to consider such things as:

- Average across different jobs and roles.
- Average across different industries.
- The benefits, in terms of hiring power, retention, and happiness and wellbeing of your staff, of providing above-average PTO accrual rates.

Do some research around your industry to see if competing companies offer higher PTO accrual rates than the overall average.

Using that information, strongly consider offering higher than normal PTO. Many companies are overly stingy with time off. They see it as an unwanted expense, rather than an investment in the health, happiness and productivity of their team.

## It’s Not Just About How Much PTO You Offer

An above-average PTO accrual rate is a great starting point. But it’s not enough to provide employees with a lot of PTO if employees aren’t using all of their allotted PTO.

55% of US employees don’t use all of their PTO. There’s a big problem (particularly in American companies) where it’s too difficult for workers to take their PTO, or they feel discouraged or pressured against it.

PTO is there for a reason, and your staff shouldn’t feel guilty about taking it.

Along with providing a good PTO accrual rate, you need to actively encourage employees to use it.

Tracking PTO with an app like Flamingo is a good start. It simplifies the process for employees asking for time off, and allows you to easily see how much PTO each person has taken.

From there, you can regularly follow up with people who have been too long without a break, and start building a healthy culture where regular vacations are a normal thing.