How Ample Paid Time Off Can Help your Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts

Updated on June 3, 2021

More than half of candidates say employee benefits are an important consideration before accepting a job, and paid time off is a big part of the total package. In fact, 53 percent of employees who get paid time off would leave for more at another company. While everyone can benefit from time away from work to recharge, some candidates from underrepresented groups may be specifically looking for this benefit for various reasons. If diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are key initiatives at your organization, read on to learn how you may attract and retain a more diverse workforce by offering a generous paid time off policy.

But first, what constitutes ample time off?

The definition of a generous paid time off policy can vary depending on things like location, industry, and seniority. To build a strong policy, take stock of the total compensation package your competitors are offering, and how paid time off fits into that. On average, a full-time employee gets 11 days off after a year, 15 days off after 5 years, 18 days off after 10 years, and 21 days off after 20 years. Many companies offer unlimited paid time off instead or get creative with things like floating holidays, sabbaticals, and Summer Fridays. In addition, benefits like flexible hours or work from home arrangements may be offered instead of more vacation time or a higher salary. Remember, it’s the total compensation package that matters. Build your time off policy, and total compensation strategy, around what works best for your company, your workforce, and the people you want to attract.

Who may benefit most from ample paid time off?

Some candidates from underrepresented groups may be specifically looking for ample paid time off for better work-life balance. For instance:

  • Parents: Between long workdays and horrendous commutes, many parents agree that they don’t spend as much time with their children as they’d like. On top of that, working parents often struggle to find childcare during school closures and sick days. A generous paid time off policy can help parents in both of those areas. In return, it could help you attract and retain parents and—more specifically—mothers, who are more likely to leave the workforce than fathers.
  • People from other parts of the world: Sometimes, you need to recruit outside of your geographic area to find a diverse, and highly-skilled, workforce. For instance, if many of the people in your area went to the same school, have worked at the same handful of companies, and attend the same church, you would benefit from having more diversity of thought. Sourcing candidates from different parts of the country, or world, offers you a fantastic opportunity to be very intentional about building a talent pipeline that’s truly diverse. Just be sure to mention your generous paid time off policy upfront, as it may be easier to recruit them if they know they can go back home for visits often.
  • Veterans: Veterans are among those who may not live near their families, as their previous roles in the military often meant they moved around a lot. Ample paid time off allows them to visit with family, friends, and former colleagues, who may be spread all around the world. Veterans may also appreciate the paid time off to continue serving their country in a volunteer capacity, or to handle medical issues they face as a result of their time in the military.
  • Older workers: Seventy percent of experienced workers say they plan to work in retirement. Many enjoy working, and want to keep their minds sharp—but also want to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Ample paid time off can be a great way to attract and retain these experienced workers because it allows them to ease into retirement. Veterans also tend to skew older, so you may be able to find candidates with very unique work experience—and plenty of it!

Final thoughts

If you want to build a diverse workforce, it’s not enough to recruit talent from underrepresented groups—you need to create an inclusive culture that welcomes them. This extends to your employee benefits. Offering things like a generous paid time off policy shows candidates that you care about their life outside of work—even if it is different for each person.

To learn more about building and retaining a diverse workforce, download The Diversity and Inclusion Handbook.