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What Is the Average PTO per Year in the USA?

average PTO in USA

You get paid time off (PTO) at work and can’t help but wonder how your benefits stack up against the average PTO in the USA.

Do some industries get more paid time off than others? Does age matter? What about an employee who has been at a company for years? Do they receive more time off than a new hire? 

There are a variety of factors to consider when determining average PTO earnings.

In this article, we explore the average number of PTO days in the USA and discuss industry norms, employer practices, and key insights to help you make the most of your time off.

The information on this website is intended, but not guaranteed, to be correct and up-to-date. It is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice. Parties seeking legal advice should consult with legal counsel familiar with their particular circumstances. Sorbet is not responsible for any third party content that may be accessed through or linked to this website, and any third-party links appearing on this site are provided only for your convenience.

Table of Contents

How Much PTO Does the Average American Get?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed that the average number of days of Paid Time Off (PTO) per year in the United States is 11 days. This is based on a US employee with one year of service who works in the private sector. 

The average PTO days in the USA can vary greatly overall based on factors like:

  • Number of years of experience

  • Type of job (public or private sector, government job, etc.)

  • Geographic location

Average PTO Days in the USA by Industry

The average PTO days in the USA for workers according to industry includes: 

  • Non-profit: 7.5

  • Government/military: 17.3

  • Utilities: 15.8

  • Media/printing/publishing/broadcasting: 14.8

  • Manufacturing: 14.2

  • Agriculture/forestry/fishing: 14

  • Finance/banking/insurance: 14

  • Internet: 13.7

  • Telecommunications: 12.3

  • Engineering/architecture: 11.4

  • Communications: 10.9

  • Legal: 10.9

  • Wholesale: 10.6

  • Healthcare/medical: 10.4

  • Business/professional services: 9.8

  • Real estate: 9.7

  • Transportation/distribution: 8.7

  • Entertainment/recreation: 8.6

  • Construction/home improvement: 8.5

  • Education: 8.5

  • Retail: 8.3

  • Computers: 7.9

  • Biotechnology: 7.2

  • Foodservice/hospitality/travel: 6.9

  • Consulting: 6

  • Accounting: 5.6

  • Aerospace/aviation: 5.3

  • Automotive sales and repair: 4.7

  • Advertising: 3.3

  • Mining: 2

  • Marketing/market research/public relations: 0

Average PTO in the USA by Age

The average PTO in the U.S. by employee age is: 

  • 18–24 years old: 6.2 days

  • 25–34 years old: 7.8 days

  • 35–44 years old: 9.5 days

  • 45–54 years old: 11.3 days

  • 55–64 years old: 10.4 days

  • 65+: 13 days 

Average PTO Time in the USA by Years of Service

This factor sometimes lines up with age, but not always. An employee may have started working very young or later in life and built up varying levels of PTO.

According to the BLS, the average U.S. small business employee should anticipate adding an extra three to four days of paid time off for every five years of employment. 

Here’s what that might look like yearly:

  • Leisure and hospitality

  • After 1 year: 9 days

  • After 5 years: 13 days

  • After 10 years: 15 days

  • After 20 years: 16 days

  • Trade, transportation, and utilities

  • After 1 year: 11 days

  • After 5 years: 16 days

  • After 10 years: 19 days

  • After 20 years: 23 days

  • Professional and business services

  • After 1 year: 14 days

  • After 5 years: 18 days

  • After 10 years: 20 days

  • After 20 years: 22 days

  • Construction

  • After 1 year: 8 days

  • After 5 years: 11 days

  • After 10 years: 13 days

  • After 20 years: 14 days

  • Education and health services

  • After 1 year: 16 days

  • After 5 years: 20 days

  • After 10 years: 23 days

  • After 20 years: 25 days

  • Information

  • After 1 year: 17 days

  • After 5 years: 22 days

  • After 10 years: 25 days

  • After 20 years: 27 days

  • Manufacturing

  • After 1 year: 11 days

  • After 5 years: 15 days

  • After 10 years: 18 days

  • After 20 years: 21 days

  • Financial services

  • After 1 year: 17 days

  • After 5 years: 21 days

  • After 10 years: 24 days

  • After 20 years: 26 days

  • Insurance carriers

  • After 1 year: 17 days

  • After 5 years: 22 days

  • After 10 years: 24 days

  • After 20 years: 27 days

  • Real estate

  • After 1 year: 12 days

  • After 5 years: 15 days

  • After 10 years: 17 days

  • After 20 years: 18 days

Average Amount of PTO in the USA by Size of Business

The size of the business or corporation also plays a role in the average PTO days in the USA. 

Here we see how many days an employee has available following varying years of employment:

  • After 1 year, all establishments: 10 days

  • After 1 year, 1–99 workers: 9 days

  • After 1 year, 100 workers or more: 12 days

  • After 5 years, all establishments: 15 days

  • After 5 years, 1–99 workers: 13 days

  • After 5 years, 100 workers or more: 16 days

  • After 10 years, all establishments: 17 days

  • After 10 years, 1–99 workers: 15 days

  • After 10 years, 100 workers or more: 19 days

From this data, we can conclude that larger companies tend to award more PTO to their employees than smaller ones.

Average Amount of PTO by US Region

It may or not surprise you that the average PTO in the USA varies depending on where in the United States you reside, with the northeasterners receiving a more generous PTO allowance than their neighbors to the southeast: 

  • West: California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado: 9.4

  • Southwest: Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma: 10.3

  • Midwest: Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana: 8.5

  • Northeast: Maine, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania: 11.4

  • Southeast: West Virginia, DC, Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland: 8.5

How Many Vacation Days Do United States Employees Actually Take?

PTO is a great concept — but if employees aren't using it, it's a great concept that’s going to waste. 

Check out these stats regarding how U.S. employees utilize their PTO:

  • Workers take an average of 20.3 days off per year.

  • Workers don’t use 6.5 days of their PTO annually.

Despite the benefits of paid time off, not all workers take it. 

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a choice in how you use your PTO hours? With Sorbet, you do. Sorbet allows employees to turn accrued and unused PTO into cash, quickly and easily. 

Got questions? Find out more here.

Other Information About PTO in America

We’ve covered a vast number of details, but when it comes to PTO in the U.S. there’s more:

  • Only 4% of all companies in the United States offer unlimited PTO.

  • 70% of employees are interested in unlimited PTO.

  • Job postings with unlimited PTO are on the rise.

  • More than 25% of employees prefer unlimited PTO. 

  • Employees who receive unlimited paid time off report the best work-life balance.

  • U.S. employees take an average of 20.3 days off yearly.

  • Employees don’t use an average of 6.5 days of their PTO each year. 

What's our takeaway? U.S. employees highly value paid time off but for many of them, their hard-earned time is going unused.

Sorbet exists to turn that trend around.

Don’t Let Your Unused PTO Go To Waste — Check Out Sorbet

You work hard — and it only makes sense that you get the most out of your precious PTO. With Sorbet cashing in on your unused paid time off is a piece of cake. 


  • Calculate your estimated PTO payout. 

  • Apply risk-free, with no strings attached.

  • Get paid straight to your linked bank account within just 1-5 business days.

Could gaining access to your hard-earned PTO be any easier? We don’t think so.

Find out more about Sorbet today!

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