PTO in US...myth or reality?

I was talking with a few of my American colleagues and they told me an interesting thing. According to them, even if an US company has an official policy of proving generous PTO for their employees, the company culture doesn’t allow the employees to take the days off. i.e. FANG companies “officially” allow 20 days off but unofficially taking all 20 days off is shunned upon. And if you take all 20 days, the management may just lay you off when they need to fire someone.

Is this really the case?

no its company culture to love to work. and if you dont love to work then obviously ur just not a good fit. makes sense?

I get a ton personally.

20 days of plain PTO

2 “volunteer days”

3 floating holidays

and 6 sick days.

altogether it’s 31 days off a year. Boss doesn’t give a crap what you use for whatever reason too.

but I’m in Denver Colorado where we basically check out after 3:30. We’re busy going to the mountains and drinking craft beer. It’s a great life.

I view this PTO issue in companies and in our society as a whole as a particular case of the Prisoner’s Dilemma. In the aggregate, it would be optimal for the entire workforce if everyone agreed that they would all take the full 20 PTO days and that nobody would cheat on the agreement. Unfortunately, the reality of corporate politics is very subtle and people are very competitive. If you were looking for a promotion and the other guy in line for one took 10 days while you took 20 days, like it or not, subconsciously or consciously, management will view you as “mailing it in” a little bit more than the other guy.

And so, this generates the confounding culture where people complain a lot about not having enough time off, but where simultaneously no one individual has the stones to take their full allotment.

When i project plan, i always take into account PTO that people will take. I always take all 20 days

I take all 20. Life’s too short.

I don’t think people care if you take 20 days of PTO if you are productive in general.

Once I had kids I started taking all 20. Big difference vs Europe is that it’s frowned upon (at anywhere I have worked) to take big consecutive chunks off. My out of office can’t say – gone in August will respond when I return in September.

Or “perception” of productivity.