Employees in the U.S. usually get paid time off (PTO), which is a type of benefit where an employee asks for time off work but still gets paid for it. Out-of-office (OOO), or vacation days, are a type of PTO where an employee takes personal time off.

As an employer, it is important to understand the difference between OOO vs PTO. The United States is one of the few countries in the world that doesn’t offer mandatory PTO to employees. But most companies provide PTO anyway, although there is no standard for how many hours or days they need to give employees and how to implement them. 

Many companies offer PTO in two ways:

  • Give every employee a standard number of hours at the beginning of every year as their PTO bankable hours. 
  • Allow employees to gain PTO hours at the end of every month. 

There are also two ways to implement PTO:

  • Every employee must use up all their PTO hours during the year or forfeit the balance at the end of the year. 
  • They can use unused PTO hours the next year. 

Employees can use PTO in a number of ways—vacation, sick leave, mental health day, and many more. They can use PTO whichever way they want as long as it doesn’t go beyond their bankable hours. 

You may ask what the difference between OOO vs PTO is. In essence, OOO is a type of PTO. Employees can use PTO to go on vacation. But if the vacation goes beyond the bankable PTO hours, then the remaining days are not paid. In some cases, companies may not even allow employees to take vacation days if there is no PTO left. 

Since there is no standard policy on PTO and OOO days, every employee needs to brush up on company rules so they can properly schedule paid or unpaid time off work.


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