Micro-essays by Philip Dhingra

On Paid Time Off

Companies now bundle sick days and vacation days into a combined bank of "Don't show up to work because you don't feel like it" days. To Europeans, this Paid Time Off (PTO) would seem absurd, but Americans see it differently. In theory, PTO rewards healthy, sturdy workers who "earn" buckets of vacation they can use at their convenience. In practice, managers just want employees with perfect attendance to reach their limit of accumulated PTO and then stop earning hours. When these so-called "rock stars" burn out and leave after three years, management can cut them a check for their PTO balance and call it severance.