# Understanding Benefits
# PTO + Sick Time
We're vacation people! We've experimented with unlimited PTO policies, but ultimately found that a set PTO policy encourages team members to take healthy time off by setting expectations shared by the whole team.
Currently we offer both PTO and Sick Leave policies. These allowances change periodically; you can see the most current policy, your current balances and request more time off in your Gusto dashboard.
PTO is always approved on a case-by-case basis. The primary factor is responsibility to your teammates. The team can adjust if you let them know you'll be out weeks in advance, but if you decide to wander off into the desert during a project launch and let us know at the last-minute, your PM and fellow developers are going to have something to say!
Sick Leave is intended for unexpected emergencies where your wellness are at stake. Our goal in offering a separate policy for this time is to make sure you rest, recover, and get back to being your kickass self.
Because we accrue PTO each pay period, it's common for new employees (who start with a balance of zero) to need time off before they have a sufficient balance. Generally we will accept such cases of negative PTO with two caveats: large amounts of PTO may prompt a conversation regarding an unpaid leave of absence, and any team member leaving the company with negative PTO will have that time deducted from their last paycheck.
We believe clarity around PTO encourages people to take more time off. If you have any questions or just have an aspiration for your next vacation, talk to your HR manager (currently Alec Reynolds) to figure out how to make PTO work for you.
Currently we don’t offer a group health plan due to issues getting GREAT access for all our team members across multiple states.
In lieu of that, we offer a Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA) via a program called PeopleKeep provided by Zanebenefits. This QSEHRA provides tax-exempt money that you can use to purchase qualifying health plans for you and your family.
You should receive an invitation our PeopleKeep instance before your startdate. Complete the PeopleKeep onboarding prior to your start date and carefully read all documentation provided by PeopleKeep. Don’t hesitate to contact them; we pay for their service so their help staff will be there for you.
As a primarily remote company, Tandem puts a focus on getting the team together for conferences and co-working several times a year.
We give every employee a discretionary budget of $1000 for towards conference fees, accommodations, travel, and travel meals. We know that different events are important to different people, and want to give you flexibility to choose the best event for your continued learning and community engagement.
In addition, Tandem typically has at least one annual all-hands "co-location" event, where all available team members gather in one spot for a few days or week. In the past we've organized this around a conference (like the Bay Area Drupal Camp or DrupalCon). For these events Tandem will purchase lodging, travel, conference passes, and some other expenses.
Overall, we encourage you to represent Tandem at high-value business events, so if you're concerned about conference expenses or want to attend more events, let us know.
# Equipment + Learning Stipend
As a fully remote company, we know that different people need different resources to be productive. For that reason, every member of the Tandem team has a $2K annual stipend that can be used to purchase equipment, rent work space, or buy material to continue their professional education.
For new employees, we grant this stipend all at once so you can purchase a new computer if necessary. If you leave the company within 6 months, Tandem will retain ownership of your equipment. For team members who leave after 6 months, we will send you an invoice for $1 (to ensure that your equipment is not considered income for tax purposes) and you will keep the purchased items.
After your first year of employment, the stipend will be granted in monthly allotments of $166.67.