# How to Calculate Vacation Accruals + Free PTO Calculator

Our PTO accrual calculator lets you determine the appropriate accrual rate to use per pay period based on your business workdays, hours in a workweek, and annual vacation days. That said, calculating PTO (Paid Time Off) can be a confusing task for some employers. The first step to track employee vacation time is to decide how many hours you want to allocate to full-time employees each year. Based on a 40-hour work week, you may want to give 40 hours (1 week of vacation time), 80 hours (2 weeks), or some other number in between. Based on the accrual method you choose, you can calculate how much time employees accrue each pay period. We get that it can be challenging to learn how to calculate vacation pay for hourly employees.

The accrued time off will get added to their PTO bank, and when they have enough hours banked, they can take time off. You can choose to lump all types of PTO together or distinguish between vacation and other types of PTO. You would take the number of yearly allocated PTO hours and divide it by 12 for monthly pay, by 24 for twice-monthly pay, or 26 for bi-weekly pay. On the other hand, accrued vacation helps limit the amount of time employees take off, but requires more work to track. First, determine whether your company will offer general PTO that includes vacation time or if you’ll offer vacation time as just one type of PTO. Most companies offer general PTO that workers can use for any kind of leave, including vacations.

## Accrued vacation

Calculating accruals for a biweekly pay cycle is just as easy as it is for a weekly pay cycle—it’s just the pay period lasts two weeks instead of one. The hourly accrual rate is the best to use for accuracy, but some businesses prefer to use a simpler calculation based on the fact that biweekly pay results in 26 payroll cycles per year. Using a biweekly accrual rate makes the most sense when your employees are salaried and get paid the same each pay period. For example, for the year, your policy might grant 10 days of vacation, five sick days, five bereavement days, and three personal days. Then, for each 40-hour workweek, employees will accrue their vacation time faster than their sick time, bereavement leave, or personal time.

• Your human resources department will then subtract from this vacation bank as it’s drawn on throughout the course of the year.
• Whichever method (or variation of methods) you choose to use to calculate PTO for your employees, write it down.
• Semimonthly pay is provided two times a month, meaning that you’ll have 24 pay periods a year.
• Also, as we mentioned before, it would also be beneficial for you to invest in a time tracking software that includes a PTO calculator.
• Managing carryovers and negative balances can feel daunting, so you may want to consider the benefits and drawbacks of offering unlimited PTO.

For example, workers can earn a portion of the 80 total hours every few months, like 20 hours every 3 months. In fact, if you grant PTO as a lump sum at the start of the year, you wouldn’t need to manage accruals at all. On the calendar, fiscal, or anniversary date, employees would receive their lump sum balance to use throughout the year.

## How to navigate common PTO challenges

If you choose to allow for PTO/vacation time carryover, decide whether workers can carry over all unused hours or only a portion. The daily hourly rate is another accrual rate that is ideal for part-time employees. The only requirement is that the part-time employees work full eight-hour shifts.

That is how much each day you work—and each vacation day or paid day off—is worth. Managing carryovers and negative balances can feel daunting, so you may want to consider the benefits and drawbacks of offering unlimited PTO. When structuring and calculating paid vacation, there are a few things to keep in mind.

In a traditional PTO system, you do owe workers for any unused PTO time that they’ve banked during their tenure. When an employee leaves, they’re usually entitled to a payout of the days of PTO they accumulated. 76% of American workers feel that it’s very important their company provides PTO.

## What is a good PTO accrual rate?

The main downside to this accrual rate is new employees have to wait a full calendar year before accruing any amount of vacation time. If you do not want them to wait, one of the other accrual rates may work better for you. Calculating hourly rates for vacation time allows you to understand how much you are paid while on vacation.

Jennifer Soper has more than 20 years of writing and content experience, working with small businesses and Fortune 100 companies. The standard available work hours per year used by human resources experts is 2,080. That’s equivalent to the number of weeks per year (52) multiplied by the number of hours the average employee works each year.

## Common PTO Accrual Methods

Often, salaried employees are granted a fixed rate of paid time off based on their average workweek—it can be a number of hours or days a year, such as 40 hours a year, or five days off for vacation. In the examples above, we used a weekly pay cycle and a standard five-day, 40-hour workweek. That accrual rate would be 1.54 hours of PTO earned (accrued) for each week worked. Other businesses grant employees a fixed amount of paid time off that starts on their hire date, or it may not start until they’ve been with the company for a specified amount of time, such as 30 or 90 days. In any case, each employee’s accruals would start on the date they were hired, and you’d need to manage how much each has earned and used based on their work anniversary date each year. You then have to determine how many weeks per year your business operates so that you can calculate how many work hours per year employees are eligible to accrue PTO annually.

It can get tricky deciding between the functions of the software itself vs any built-in accrual calculator, so make sure to review your options to determine the best overall fit for your business. You will first need to multiply the number of work days in a week by 52 weeks to calculate how many work days you have per year (remember to subtract any paid holidays and the days off per year). Using a spreadsheet to track vacation pay may seem simple and affordable, but you risk human error and high administrative costs. To figure out how much to pay your employee for an upcoming vacation, multiply the vacation hours by their pay rate. Luckily, understanding how to calculate vacation pay is simpler than it seems.

Knowing which accrual rate you want to use can help make the process easier. The easiest method is to use the yearly formula, allocating an employee’s vacation days at the beginning of a year. But with hourly employees who are not full-time, you may prefer one of the other methods. Save yourself the headache and sign up for the IDEAblox Time Clock app to track your employee’s vacation pay automatically.

Our advice would be to narrow your selection to only include software with free trials so that you can directly test out how well they fit your operations. You can get started on the trial by clicking here, or visit here to watch a demo of our software. Both are common options, but allowing a negative balance accrual requires more oversight and tracking. Learn more about the differences between vacation time and other types of paid time off. Make sure that your paid time off policies, including examples of how your organization calculates PTO accrual and who is eligible for the PTO program, are clearly defined in your employee handbook.

Imagine an employee who earns \$30 an hour is left with 20 hours of unused vacation time on December 1, 2023. Say they can’t feasibly take that time off before January 1, 2024, when all your employees’ vacation time resets. It’s best practice to track your sick leave accruals and balances separately from PTO available for vacation and other personal reasons. That’s because in some states, sick leave must be paid out upon termination, while PTO doesn’t have to be. Help employees plan for this by offering guidance during onboarding or in posts throughout the year via internal communications about the importance of banking some PTO for sick days. As an example, advise employees to consider paid time off as five days of vacation, four sick days or an unplanned emergency, and one day for a special occasion.

The first step to calculate PTO accrual is to determine how many days or hours per year you want to grant your employees. According to SHRM, the average number of PTO days granted depends on longevity with the company and ranges from 13 to 26, which may or may not include sick leave. Use a time-off management solution like Connecteam to quickly calculate how much vacation pay each employee is owed. The integrated vacation hour calculator, automatically calculates your employee’s vacation time based on their work hours and accrual rate.