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Understanding Your Benefits - part 3


You've heard the expression "time is money". Many would agree that our time is as valuable, if not more valuable, than money. So when you're considering your paid time off benefits, take the time to consider what is being offered.


Paid Time Off (PTO)


PTO is an important factor in your total compensation. Your PTO can include holidays, sick pay, personal and vacation time. In some companies these are all lumped into one block of PTO, whereas some companies separate the number of sick days from vacation days. The amount you are offered can differ greatly and can often be negotiated, so don’t be afraid to ask. A couple of things to ask up front:

  • How many PTO days do I get?

  • How is PTO accrued?

  • Can PTO be carried over to a new year or sold back?

  • What is the process for requesting PTO?


Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)


FMLA is a law that allows employees to take up to 12 weeks unpaid for certain family and/or medical reasons, such as the birth or adoption of a child, medical care for a family member or a personal health condition. Your job will be protected, and your health insurance will continue during your leave.


Parental Leave


While FMLA requires some employers to offer unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, parental leave is not guaranteed and comes down to the individual employer. If you’re planning to start a family, you will want to find out the specifics regarding the prospective employer’s policies regarding parental leave. Some questions to ask:

  • Does the leave (if applicable) apply to both women and men (maternity/paternity leave)?

  • Is it paid or unpaid?

  • How much time is allowed?

In conclusion, your paid time off is a huge part of your overall compensation package and it’s not something you want to skip over. Know your rights, ask questions, and plan accordingly.


In part 4 we will review remote work options and flexible work schedules. While these aren’t necessarily “benefits”, they are what most would consider perks. However some might say they are non-negotiable.

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