“For Years I Took PTO Wrong” — HR Expert Explains The Right Way To Take Paid Time Off

Maybe you’ve never had a job with paid time off (I haven’t!) or maybe you’re super worried about angering your boss for taking that time off.

Whatever the reason, way too many people don’t know how to use their paid time off.


Selena Rezvani recently posted a viral TikTok full of tips about taking the time off you deserve — and need! No one wants to burn out.

She also spoke with Bored Panda about hustle culture.

@selenarezvani / TikTok

“Research shows North Americans are the most stressed-out workers in the world. If you think about it, it’s hard to be results-obsessed and NOT get burned out.

“I tell people that dedication and hard work are things to be proud of, but when we take time off regularly, we have better health, stamina, and engagement at work. Not just that, we actually perform better and work harder.”

So what can we do about it? Rezvani suggests taking PTO! She also explains that time off, PAID time off, is really important.

“Employees feel pressure to come in sick if the company doesn’t have a PTO policy in place, If you’re leading a company that lacks PTO — you’ll suffer in finding talent: PTO is the second most important ‘perk’ to employees after health insurance.”

So what should you do? In her TikTok, Rezvani says:

You should also be a bit skeptical about unlimited PTO. She explains: “There are often unspoken expectations about how to use it from management – for example, what constitutes the ‘right amount’ to take. That means it’s easy for employees to violate those expectations because nothing is explicitly stated!”

She goes on: “Unlimited plans suffer from underuse. One study showed people with unlimited plans take fewer days in a year than people with traditional plans. Not just that, but Americans with unlimited PTO are twice as likely as folks with traditional plans to say they ‘always’ work on vacation. Let’s be honest. Unlimited PTO is a marketing tool. If you want to offer people a transparent, useable plan, my advice is to give people a generous and clearly stated number of PTO days.”

She also posted a follow-up video about what to do when your manager resists time off. She explains some steps you can take.

“Employers need to stop vacation-shaming and incentivizing people to have ‘perfect attendance’. It’s crazy to me that there are workplaces that give out perfect attendance awards and financial incentives to those who don’t use their PTO at the end of a period,” Rezvani said.

She also said that it’s important to respect the use of PTO. “As a grown adult who knows their body, don’t require a person to provide a justification or reason to be out! It’s time to normalize using PTO regularly because more than half of Americans don’t take all their PTO in a year – compared to France where 90% of people take all their PTO.”

She also notes that we need to look at PTO differently. “Rather than seeing [PTO] like a preventative, beneficial ‘vitamin’ we regularly take to keep us vital and healthy, we tend to see it a little more like a ‘painkiller’ for stress. That thing we need to offset everyday pressures and tensions.”

@selenarezvani / TikTok

So how can you use your PTO? “If you personally have little PTO to work with, say one week, you can use the piggyback technique of tacking on one additional day off to an already short week say, a federal holiday. That gives you a longer period off and a shorter workweek to look forward to,” Rezvali said to Bored Panda.

The woman’s insights were well-received by many TikTokers, who also provided numerous valuable suggestions: