Working Hours, PTO, and Vacation

Every employee is going to wonder what flexibility they have around work hours, as well as how much PTO and vacation they have. It's important to make standards clear so that your employees can get the rest they need, and so that everyone's on the same page.

This document is a template for you to create your own document on working hours, PTO, and vacation as part of your employee handbook. You can read below or download it as a PDF here.

Note that we have specified in [brackets] areas that you should change yourself, such as inserting your company name or adding more detail.

Note: this template is not a legal document and does not consider local, state-specific, national, or international laws. Each state and locality may have very different laws and policies. So please consult an employment lawyer in your state to approve your final working hours, PTO, and vacation document, as well as the whole employee handbook.

What's included in this article:

Working hours

  • Standard work day
  • Overtime

Time off

  • Vacation and paid time off (PTO)
  • Statutory holidays
  • Holiday pay/hours


  • Sick leave
  • Long-term disability
  • Death in the family and grieving
  • Jury duty
  • Voting
  • Paternity and maternity leave

Returning to work

  • Remote working
  • Childcare

Working hours

Standard work day

Typically, our company operates from [9am to 5pm] as standard work hours. You may be able to come in flexibly, for example at 8am and leave at 4pm, as long as you are at work for about 7-8 hours per day. That includes a 1 hour break for lunch. Please talk with your manager if you have a question or a request.


You may, from time to time, be asked to work overtime hours, which means working more and outside of normal work hours. We cover how this is compensated for in our [compensation policy - insert link to compensation and development article]

Time off

Vacation and paid time off (PTO)

All full-time and part-time employees (not contractors) will receive [10 days] of vacation/paid time off.

You can take your PTO after your first 3 months with us. As part of promotions and raises, you may be given more PTO.

In order to take PTO, please email a request to your manager. You do not need to include a reason for taking time off but you will be responsible for ensuring that your work deliverables are met before taking leave and that your responsibilities are handed off during your absence.

You can transfer any remaining PTO to the next year, but we encourage you to use your PTO during the year.

If you leave or are laid off from the company, you will be paid out any remaining PTO to your final pay cheque. If you are terminated for cause, you will not be paid out PTO.

Statutory holidays

We respect federal and state holidays in the United States. A full list can be found here.

You will be given the day off for any that fall on a weekday, and for any that fall on a day the business is not open, such as a Sunday, you will be given a holiday on the closest business day.

If you wish to take a religious holiday, please let us know in advance, and you can either take PTO or unpaid time off.

Holiday pay/hours

You will receive pay on holidays.

It is possible that the company will ask you to work on a holiday and will make the request at least one week in advance.

If you are required to work on a holiday, if you are an employee, you will receive one substitute day of PTO, or if you are an hourly employee, you will be paid at higher than your hourly rate.

Taking leave

Sick leave

All employees receive one paid week of sick leave - or more, as required by the state or country that you live in.

An example of a sickness is a cold, flu, migraine, or a minor injury.

We request that employees who are sick take their sick days. If you show up at work sick and contagious, you will be asked to leave and to go home and get better.

If you have not yet arrived at work, please contact your manager and let them know you are taking a sick day. If you are already at work and need to go home, please contact your manager or leave them a note that you are coming home sick.

Long-term sick leave

If you have a serious illness, you may be able to request a long-term leave. For this, or for any illness lasting more than a week, we will ask you to submit a doctor's note. If you have worked for us more than 12 months for at least 1250 hours, you are eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period, without losing your job. This can also be used to assist a family member who is afflicted with a severe health issue.

Bereavement/grief leave

If you lose a family member or a loved one, you are able to take leave. We are sorry for your loss and will do what we can to help.

We offer 3 days of paid bereavement leave so that you can attend funerals and memorials, deal with the administration of a death, support family members, and begin the mourning process.

If you need to take more time away, you are able to take unpaid days off or to use your PTO.

Jury duty

Jury duty is a civic duty and we will follow the law around it. If you are given extended jury duty leave, you will receive pay in accordance with the law and your responsibilities will be assigned elsewhere.

Please give us a copy of your jury duty summons and a confirmation document that you served your time.


On municipal, state, and national election days, you can take three hours off to vote. We encourage you to do this in the early morning or late afternoon so that it doesn't interrupt the majority of the work day.

Paternity and maternity leave

We value families and will do what we can to support you on paternity or maternity leave. We encourage you to take the time to spend with your child and we'll do what we can to ease your transition back to the company after (more below).

We offer [3 months] of paid maternity or paternity leave. We also offer an additional 12 weeks of unpaid leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act, if you have worked for the company for more than 12 months and worked at least 1250 hours.

Please give notice to your manager 3 months before you intend to take leave, as we may need to hire someone to fill in for you while you are away.

If you are a pregnant woman, you may be able to commence your leave before your labour. Please speak with your manager.

If you experience severe labour complications, you may request a long-term illness leave, as described in the section above.

Returning from leave

If you are returning from an extended leave, whether that's due to a pregnancy or a long-term illness, we will do everything that we can to make your transition back to work happy and productive.

Remote working

As above, in accordance with our remote working policy, you will be able to have flexible hours. If you are returning from extended leave, you may be allowed to work fully or mostly remote until you feel well enough to return. Please discuss with your manager.


While our company does not offer direct funding towards childcare, we are happy to do what we can to find suitable childcare so that you can stay focussed on work knowing your children are safe. Please discuss with your manager.

Read more: Employee resignation and termination