Time away from work can be extremely helpful for maintaining a healthy work/life balance. GitLab encourages managers and leadership to set the example by taking time off when needed, and ensuring their reports do the same.
Taking time off is not a selfish behavior. Not only is time away from work aligned with GitLab's sub-value Family and friends first, work second, but it is vital to maintaining mental health. It is also a core part of the creative process.
It is so important to take time off to recharge batteries and refresh the mind so you can come back to GitLab with renewed energy and be prepared to do your best work ever!
This page is written with a focus on vacation. If taking time off for medical needs, whether physical or mental, you should follow the appropriate process in your location. In the United States, if you are missing more than 25 days of work due to medical requirements, you should move onto Short-Term Disability, or the equivalent in your location. Please be aware that certain states in the US need you to notify of your need to use short-term disability prior to these 25 days, so please follow the directions in the Group Long-Term and Short-Term Disability Insurance handbook section. The below recommendations on communicating your time off apply to time off for all reasons where possible and avoid concerns of health, safety, or job abandonment.
A support engineer remarked that “In the 3 months I've been at GitLab, I've taken more time off than the last 2 years at my previous job.”
Another great example of taking time off is a GitLab team member taking a day to do some spring cleaning. Vacations don't have to be trips to exotic places, but instead could be taking some time for oneself at home.
If you are taking Parental Leave, please see our Parental Leave Policy.
Paid time off is in addition to any official public holidays that apply to the country where you live. When accounting for such holidays in PTO by Roots, do specify a "Public Holidays" event. This helps us to ensure that all of our Team Members are meeting at least the Statutory Vacation Requirements.
As we all work remotely it can sometimes be difficult to know when and how to plan time off. Here is some advice and guidance on how this can be done in an easy and collaborative way. Please note that for audit and compliance purposes, all team members are required to use PTO by Roots as the single source of truth to accurately track and communicate all time off.
If you decide to work on a holiday and then take another day off in lieu of the actual holiday date, we ask that you choose Public Holiday as a PTO category, and in the section
What is this OOO for? please clarify that this day is taken in lieu of the actual holiday date.
firstname.lastname@example.org your specific request and People Operations Specialists will complete your request, per the instructions. Events can only be changed after the PTO by Roots event has completed itself.
Communicate broadly when you will be away so other people can manage time efficiently, projects don't slip through the cracks, and so that you don't get bothered while away.
OOO from YYYY-MM-DD to YYYY-MM-DD, please contact XXX for assistance.
OOOto your status message will keep you from appearing in the reviewer roulette.
helpto indicate which weeks you won't be able to participate. Pairings will automatically resume when you’re back.
Returning from PTO of any length can feel overwhelming. Consider implementing these strategies when returning from time off in order to make the most of the rest and reflection you've achieved.
Remember that it's normal to take extra time to catch up after returning from paid time off. Taking time off doesn't mean that you need to work extra hours before or after your vacation. When taking extended time off, expect to have reduced capacity to take on new work the week of your return while you're catching up on the work that happened while you were away. Remember that it's impossible to know everything.
Honor a window of transition when returning from PTO and recognize that rest and time off is productive. Big, reflective moments may happen when you take a step back and reflect. Before catching up on all missed emails and Slack messages, consider first revisiting priority projects to take action on these reflections. In our interview about managing burnout, John Fitch described this approach as spending time working on your projects, rather than in your projects. This could look like blocking off a few days with no meetings to complete deep work on an OKR or hosting a collaborative session with your team to brainstorm.
When returning from paid time off, it can be helpful to schedule a coffee chat or two on the day of your return to get caught up, share stories from your time off, and simply reconnect with your team members. It also provides a nice break from to-dos and unread emails. This type of conversation may occur organically in a colocated office but needs to be managed with intent in an all-remote company.
The People Operations team is able to adjust active PTO events and past PTO events. If you need the team to adjust an event, please send an email to
email@example.com with the dates and time e.g. 'please remove two hours of PTO from October 31st'.
We encourage everyone to fully step away from work on their days off but understand that unforseen events can arise.
In keeping with our values of CREDIT, we have crafted the following protocol around sick time for all GitLab team members.
If you or a loved one is ill, we want you to take care of yourself or your loved one(s). To facilitate this, you should take sick time when you need it. Sick time is meant to be used when you are ill, or to care for family members including your parent(s), child(ren), spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent(s), grandchild(ren), or sibling(s).
Sick time refers to the time a team member takes to address either their health, or the health of a close family member, and also for preventative reasons like a doctor’s appointment.
You still need to report when you take sick time, by entering the dates as an
Out Sick type of OOO event in PTO by Roots via Slack. Once entered in PTO by Roots, your sick time will be automatically updated in BambooHR and payroll can note and update any other systems as needed.
If you need sick leave for more than 8 consecutive calendar days, please follow the instructions in the Communicating Illness-Related Leave section.
Employees of GitLab Inc. can take off sick time in line with our paid time off policy. Sick time does not get paid out in case of termination, nor does it reduce your final paycheck in case of a negative balance. Related to the topic of short-term or extended leave requests, see information about short-term disability) through Cigna / your state.
Employees of GitLab B.V. have further rights and responsibilities regarding sick time based on Dutch law, as written into their employment contracts:
Please be aware that certain countries require a doctor's note or similar type of proper documentation for your sick time. To add a Doctor's note to BambooHR, please upload it to the employee uploads folder and let your manager know that you have added it.
In the unfortunate event that a team member is dealing with a medical situation, they are under no obligation to reveal details to their manager directly. Instead, you can reach out to the Total Rewards team. The Total Rewards team will inform the People Business Partner and Manager on a need-to-know basis. The manager should under no circumstances reveal any illness-related leave to other team members to ensure we respect the privacy of the team member affected.
If a team member does choose to start the conversation about reasonable accommodations in the US or accommodations in the EU, please have the team member reach out to the Team Member Relations Specialist, by emailing
firstname.lastname@example.org. If the team member starts the conversation with the manager, we would ask the manager to reach out to the Team Member Relations Specialist, by emailing
email@example.com. The Team Member Relations Specialist will keep a log of all accommodation requests and will inform the Total Rewards Team if applicable. What can (or must) be accommodated varies from location to location. GitLab will comply with the applicable laws in your specific location.
Emergencies, by definition are unexpected. They can range from natural disasters, terrorist events, accidents, family deaths, hospitalization and any other unexpected situation. During these times we ask team members to use their best judgement as well as listen to and adhere to public safety officials when possible. If an unexpected emergency occurs please contact your manager via Slack or email as soon as possible if you will be unavailable or unable to work. This will allow your manager to confirm your safety and reassign any critical work during your absence. If you do not have an emergency contact in BambooHR please go ahead and complete that section. We will only contact that person if we are unable to reach you via Slack, email or phone.
Team members may request an unpaid leave of absence by working with their manager to obtain approval. A manager has the discretion to not approve a leave based on performance issues or critical deadlines. All requests must be approved by the function Vice President and comply with all local laws. Please follow the process for initiating an unpaid leave request to Peopleops.
For team members who are on paid or unpaid leave of absence like parental leave, short or long-term disability, or other approved leaves there is no expectation that work would be accomplished during this time. Team members should use their approved paid or unpaid leave as an opportunity to focus on their health and well being. For managers it is important that you do not reach out to team members and ask them to complete work while on an approved leave of absence. An occasional quick call for a simple question is acceptable but these should be infrequent and simple requests that can be answered during that conversation.
We do understand that during extended periods of time off team members may still want to feel connected. We encourage team members at their discretion to maintain a social connection with their peers and team members. This is completely up to the team member on leave on how or if they want to remain connected while on leave of absence.
For managers it is ok to reach out to a team member every 3-4 weeks to just to say hello. These conversations should remain social and avoid work related topics.
PTO by Roots allows employees and managers to coordinate time off seamlessly with intuitive Slack commands. The integration from Slack and BambooHR automatically monitors PTO balances and takes action; PTO by Roots will automatically add any time off taken for sick and vacation accruals to BambooHR. PTO by Roots also reminds employees of their upcoming time off and helps them assign roles and tasks for co-workers, giving all parties involved greater alignment and peace of mind.
Please be aware that new team members' PTO by Roots accounts are activated and synced automatically once a day, so if you try to access PTO by Roots on your first day and receive an error message, please attempt to access PTO by Roots on Day 2. If you still receive an error message, let your assigned People Ops Specialist know in your onboarding issue.
/pto-roots oooCreate an OOO event.
/pto-roots whosoutSee upcoming OOO for everyone in the channel where this command is used.
/pto-roots @usernameCheck if a particular person is OOO and if they are, see which of your co-workers are covering for them.
/pto-roots @usergroupSee upcomming OOO for everyone on the particualr user group.
/pto-roots feedbackThis is your direct line to support. At any time, use this command to report bugs or share your thoughts on how the product can be improved or what’s working well.
/pto-roots helpA top-level look at PTO by Roots items that you may need help with, and how to receive help.
You can find the Home Tab by visiting
Apps in the menu bar within Slack, and search for or select PTO by Roots. From the Home Tab you can do the follwoing.
-It should be noted that the sync between PTO by Roots and BambooHR will only take place after an PTO event has taken place. BambooHR cannot see scheduled/future PTO events.
Other OOO options include:
|Type of OOO||PTO?||Slack Status|
|Mandatory Civilian Service||No||Unavailable|
|Family and Friends Day||No||Unavailable|
|CEO Shadow Program||No||Unavailable|
These other types of OOO categories do not count as PTO. These categories are an easy way to correctly track your time and communicate your status without manually updating both your calendar and your Slack status. If you prefer to do it manually, that's ok too. If you are called for Mandatory Civilian Service or Jury Duty, please notify your manager and team, as there may need to be added support for your tasks if your service is for a longer length of time.
If you receive an error message "Uh-oh! It doesn't look like you have access to PTO by Roots" please attempt the following steps.
PTO by Roots allows you to sync time off requests with your Google Calendar.
PTO by Roots can automatically set your OOO status in Slack and apply “Do Not Disturb” settings while you’re away. You must add these permissions individually.
PTO by Roots provides an experience that allows you to set roles and tasks for co-workers while you’re away. Accepted roles then become a part of a Slack away message that appears as co-workers try to tag you in discussions while you’re OOO.
Before assigning a
#channel to a role, please ask for permission to do so in that channel.
Especially in large channels and during popular vacation times, PTO's role reminders could create a lot of noise, so some teams may recommend against them until there is an option to allow turning off the PTO notifications.
You can bulk add holidays based on your region and then modify them manually if needed. Any Public Holidays added to PTO by Roots in your dashboard will not auto-set an OOO event for you, you will still need to create an OOO event if observing that holiday. To add a Public Holiday, follow the below instructions.
Appsin the menu bar within Slack, and search for or select PTO by Roots
Holidaysfrom the dropdown menu
Bulk Add By Region
We get it — life gets busy. So busy, in fact, that you may need a little nudge to consider taking time off to recharge. PTO by Roots allows you to subscribe (and unsubscribe) to a monthly prompt, sent on the first working day of each month, reminding you to pause and think about time away from work and prioritizing mental health.
The reminder will read as follows.
Hi there! Have you thought about what days you may take off this month? 🌴⛰️ We want to make sure you stay healthy! If you feel like you can’t reasonably take time off, feel welcome to add this note to your next 1:1 with your manager and discuss further. Learn more about paid time off at GitLab:
To subscribe or unsubscribe, follow the below instructions and see an associated screenshot.
Appsin the menu bar within Slack, and search for or select PTO by Roots
Profilefrom the dropdown
Considering GitLab has a no ask time off policy, it can be helpful to know who else on your team is out of office prior to requesting time. In order to see who is out of your team, follow the steps below:
Who's Out?from the dropdown list
new searchto view who is out by
You can request a new PTO by Roots feature by using the aforementioned
/pto-roots feedback command in Slack. If you receive feedback from the PTO by Roots team, or a new feature is implemented, please document the discussion in this GitLab issue. You can also create an issue in the People Group general project and ping CEO Kevin Corliss
@pto-ninja and CTO Doug Franklin
@doug17 for review.
If a OOO event is in progress:
overrideoption in Admin Tools and type the name of the team member you need to perform the override for.
If a OOO event has completed and synced to BambooHR:
overrideoption in Admin Tools and type the name of the team member you need to perform the override for.
[...]overflow menu on the righthand side of the screen.
To clarify, once the event has completed and synced to BambooHR, both the BambooHR and PTO by Roots events have to be deleted for the new correct event to be saved to BambooHR.
Managers have a duty to manage their direct reports wellbeing and ensure that time off is being taken. Sometimes, when working remotely from home, it can be hard to find a good work-life balance. It is also easy to forget that your team is working across multiple time zones, so some may feel obligated to work longer to ensure there is overlap. It is important that you check-in with your reports through one-to-ones, and if you think someone needs some time off, let them know they can do this.
For audit and compliance purposes, managers are responsible for ensuring that their team members track and communicate all time off using PTO by Roots as the single source of truth. Whether a team member is taking one day off, or 25+ days off, all team members must use PTO by Roots.
If you discover that multiple people in your team want to be off at the same time, see what the priorities are, review the impact to the business, and use your best judgement. Discuss this with your team so you can manage the time off together. It is also a good idea to remind your team to give everyone an early heads-up, if possible, about upcoming vacation plans. Reminders can be sent in Slack, shared on a team calendar, or noted during team meetings.
If as a manager you are notified that your direct report has been incapacitated or unable to submit an OOO request in PTO by Roots and needs to take time off, be it Sick Time or otherwise, please document this information, and relay it to the People Experience team at
people-exp @gitlab.com without disclosing private medical information in compliance with applicable privacy laws. The People Experience team will submit an OOO request on the team member's behalf and mark the reason as
Per Manager Name, and save the email thread in the team member's
Sickness folder in BambooHR. This documentation will be unshared and will not contain any personal medical information.
Reporting from the PTO by Roots app helps managers:
PTO by Roots sends an automated report to managers like the one below at the beginning of every month:
Managers can also access the Reporting view at any time by using the dropdown menu in the Home tab of the PTO by Roots Slack app. Reports only show team members in their reporting tree - direct reports and below. When managers generate a report through the PTO by Roots app, they select a time frame. That timeframe can be anything - YTD, this past week, the upcoming quarter, etc. The
Total column will show what’s taken/scheduled to be taken during the timeframe selected.
Understanding the PTO that teams have taken, and plan to take, helps managers have conversations about burnout and burnout management with their direct reports. Below are common scenarios faced by managers than can be supported using PTO by Roots data.
teammemberrelations @gitlab.comto address the next steps to take in line with applicable law.
It is important for us to take a step back to recognize and acknowledge the feeling of being "burned out". We are not as effective or efficient when we work long hours, miss meals or forego nurturing our personal lives for sustained periods of time. If you feel that you or someone on your team may be experiencing burnout, be sure to address it right away.
To get ahead of a problem, be sure to communicate with your manager if any of the following statements ever apply to you:
These and similar symptoms might get missed or dismissed, as people who are on the path to burnout, or who are burnt out, are usually unable to spend the mental energy to recognize it in themselves. Having an external source objectively identify the situation can be helpful. A great tool for objectively recognizing burn out is https://burnoutindex.org.
If someone is showing signs of burnout, they should take time off to focus on things that are relaxing and improve their overall health and welfare.
As a manager, it is your task to evaluate your team's state of mind. Address possible burnout by discussing options with your team member to manage contributing stressors and evaluate the workload. Some things to help with this:
Other tips to avoid burnout include:
Don't let burnout creep up on you. Working remotely can allow us to create bad habits, such as working straight through lunch to get something finished. Once in a while this feels good, perhaps to check that nagging task or big project off the list, but don't let this become a bad habit. Before long, you'll begin to feel the effects on your body and see it in your work.
Keep in mind that you are not alone! Chances are that you have a colleague who already experienced burnout or has been on the road to burnout. Schedule coffee calls with your team members or with anyone you'd like to talk to. Talk to your manager. If none of that is an option for you, schedule a coffee call with Marin.
Take care not to burn yourself out!
The following is a list of all statutory annual vacation entitlements by entity and country. Once the statutory amounts have been taken, employees can still make use of GitLab's No Ask Time Off policy.
|Policy Locations||Statutory Minimum Vacation Time||Statutory Minimum Vacation Pay|
|All of Canada (except SK, QC)||2 weeks after 1 year / 3 weeks after 5 years||4% for the first 5 years, 6% after 5 years|
|Quebec Only||3 weeks after 1 year and going forward||6% for the first 9 years, 8% after 9 years|
|Saskatchewan Only||3 weeks after 1 year / 4 weeks after 10 years||6% for the first 9 years, 8% after 9 years|
Review above section
Statutory Minimum Vacation Time for questions around dates and amounts. Due to BambooHR's settings, it cannot automatically make some adjustments to the accruals. To keep these figures accurate we must perform some manual work.
To do this, go to Time Off, Adjust Balance, and add the amount you determined in the previous step. Add a note "Adjustment to prevent negative rollover."
It's important to acknowledge that returning to work after parental leave can be difficult. Even with smooth reentries, life and work interplay differently when one adds another member to their family. Everyone transitions differently, and the impact on an individual varies depending on role, as well as a litany of personal factors.
You can learn more about parental leave and how to apply in the Benefits section of the GitLab Handbook.
GitLab team members compiled tips in a four-part blog series, linked below, looking at an array of issues surrounding working remotely with children. These shed light on parental leave policies worldwide, provide an inside view of working at GitLab with a newborn, and highlight strategies for working remotely with older children.
Tips from GitLab team members are the greater community are below, as well as how each aligns with at least one of GitLab's values.
What has worked for me is to integrate GitLab into my life, and not the other way around. I set very clear boundaries in my calendar of when is work time and when is family time. Per GitLab's recommendation, my calendar is viewable by anyone and clearly has time for:
kids test prep,
visual therapy for one,
judo pick-upand other appointments I have outside of work. This prevents team members from scheduling over these instances.
If someone does schedule over family time or personal time, I feel confident to decline, unless it is very urgent and I'm blocking it (I always suggest a new time first, before using family time for a meeting). I am also inclined to say that if folks keep scheduling outside of your work time, to make sure you respond back and highlight that, and check if you can find an alternative time that works for both of you. — Nadia V.
When I joined GitLab, it was great to see things in people's calendars like
homework with kids,
date night, etc. Part of onboarding was coffee chats so I saw these “meetings” on calendars as I tried to schedule chats. It reinforced our family first sub-value, and also normalized these activities. It helped me understand that I could set up similar boundaries and not sacrifice bed time or something similar just to have an empty hour on my calendar. — Seth B.
Seth's recommendation ties to a sub-value of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging : Family and friends first, work second.
The hardest part of coming back from parental leave has been getting caught up/reintegrating with the GitLab team while sleep deprived. I recommend taking to heart the
don't worryportion of GitLab's guide to paid time off, which states: "You don't need to worry about taking time off to go to the gym, take a nap, go grocery shopping, do household chores, help someone, take care of a loved one, etc. If you have urgent tasks, but something comes up or takes longer than expected, just ensure the rest of the team knows and someone can pick up the tasks (assuming you're able to communicate)." — Jonathan S.
Jonathan's recommendation adds a layer of nuance to Accepting Uncertainty, a sub-value of Results. It also touches on Give agency, a sub-value of Collaboration, which empowers team members to focus on what they think is most beneficial.
Take advantage of GitLab's bias towards asynchronous communication. A child's schedule shifts rapidly, and I've found it useful to structure my days around my son's routine rather than force him to operate on a rigid timeline. Being a part of a 100% remote team empowers team members to embrace work/life harmony in whatever way suits them. Moreover, it's liberating to be able to shift when and where I work depending on the needs of my family.
It's important to talk about family. For a company to sustain a culture that embraces parents and empathizes with the associated needs, these realities must be shared in the open and not allowed to become taboo. — Darren M.
Parents at GitLab are encouraged to join the
#intheparenthood Slack channel to share tips, photos, and stories, and make a merge request to add contributions to this page.
Returning to work after parental leave can be jarring if you're attempting to jump immediately back to 100%. Not only has your life changed dramatically with the expansion of your family, but you're reintegrating into a working world that has continued to progress in your absence. Merely catching up with months of work is a challenge unto itself, even without a new family member.
To alleviate the stress associated with returning to work after parental leave, GitLab supports team members coming back at 50% capacity for as long as needed. The general guideline for this is two to four weeks, but we recognize that each reentry situation should be treated as a unique case to be discussed between the team member and their manager. The 50% figure should be viewed as a guide rather than an inflexible rule. Some team members may feel comfortable ramping more quickly, and that is OK.
This provides space for a team member to test out life adjustments and iterate further without feeling overwhelmed by a full workload. For instance, if a prearranged daycare solution turns out to be suboptimal, this 50% capacity window empowers a parent to iterate — to find a different solution with the air cover at work to put in the appropriate amount of research and care.
Some team members might want to work part-time for a longer time period or even forever. If you would like to have this discussion, please talk to your manager. You can head to the Part-time contracts page to learn more.
Parents at GitLab who are reentering work following parental leave are encouraged to reach out to team members who self-designate as a Parental Leave Reentry Buddy.
You can find this designation on a person's profile on the Team page, and consider asking in the
#intheparenthood Slack channel.
If you're interested in volunteering as a parental leave reentry buddy, add the following information to your
... department: ... - Parental Leave Reentry buddy expertise: ... <li><a href="/handbook/people-group/general-onboarding/parental-leave-buddy/">Parental Leave Reentry buddy</a></li>