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Have Some PTO Days Saved? Here’s an Ideal Time to Use Those Days Off

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It’s late December. You’re marathon-watching holiday movies (or that buzzy Netflix show you’ve had on the back burner); munching on cookie after sprinkle-covered cookie; enjoying quality time with your grandma or favorite cousin. And it’s all stress free, because you’ve secured 10 peaceful, uninterrupted days away from work. 

That seems to be the idea behind a TikTok that popped up on my For You page last week, recommending a way to spend your paid time off for an extended break at the end of this year. A user named Chelsea brings attention to how Christmas Day 2022 and New Year’s Day 2023 fall on a Sunday, and the federal holidays will be observed on the following Mondays.

“If you take off [Dec.] 27, 28, 29, 30, that’s four days of PTO, but you will end up with a 10-day holiday from the 24th to [Jan.] 2,” user @chelseazeferina, who’s 32 and works in marketing, said in the video. “You’re welcome.”

On federal holidays like Memorial Day, Independence Day, Christmas and New Years Day, non-essential US government employees are given the day off and most government offices are closed, according to FederalPay.org, a non-governmental portal built by federal employees. Employees regularly scheduled to work on a federal holiday get paid time off.

While private companies and US states aren’t required to observe federal holidays, many private businesses, as well as most state and local governments, close their doors on these days, according to the portal. In data collected by the National Compensation Survey in 2018, 97% of private industry workers received Christmas Day as a paid holiday, while 90% got New Year’s Day off.

A 10-day break sounds like something worth considering. I sure could use a stretch of time to finally binge all five seasons of Breaking Bad (and forge some lasting memories with friends and family, of course). But when I ventured to the comments on the TikTok video, I found many countering the idea that Dec. 27-30 is the perfect time to take off and asserting that PTO would be better spent elsewhere.

“Never take that week off,” one user wrote. “Slowest time ever.”

“Oh god no,” wrote another. “It’s relaxing without dealing with everyone in the office. Perfect time to organize, clear out emails, files, etc.” 

Of course, how you choose to use your hard-earned PTO is up to you. The TikTok user replied to a comment, sharing her intentions with the post: “The reason why I posted is [because] I was trying to figure out how to maximize time spent [with] family around the holidays and realized how much time I could get with only taking four days off.”


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