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Alyssa Graf Alyssa Graf, attorney with Fisher Phillips in San Francisco.

Many companies have created buzz over the last few years by offering employees “unlimited” paid time off (PTO). Traditionally, an employee’s time off has been separated into vacation and sick days; in these scenarios, an employee may only take the number of vacation days allotted to that individual and, unlike paid sick leave, unused vacation at termination is paid out to the employee. Some companies provide PTO for “illness and wellness,” and a set number of PTO days are provided for use at the employee’s discretion.

Unlimited PTO policies go one step further: there is no cap on the amount of time an employee can take off work. But with all the talk about more flexible PTO policies, only a small number of companies have committed to a true “unlimited” PTO policy.

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