Growing up, dad was an auto worker. They had great benefits from the union, he could call in sick at a moment's notice if he needed to (meaning he was always the parent to stay home with the sick kids). I'm not sure about all the logistics behind it, but I know he got a decent amount of vacation pay.
He was also laid off every year when the plant re-tooled. They had to rebuild the machines that built the cars to make the new model year, and it took about a month. Dad was off work. Healthcare benefits kept up, somehow, but he had to call every week to get unemployment until the plant started up again. That was near the end of summer, and it was always stressful having dad home all day. It changed the routine for us kids, we weren't used to it because we'd had all summer to ourselves and then the week before we were back in school, BAM, dad was there all the time. It wasn't so bad the years they'd saved enough money to take us all on vacation, and mom always had enough days to come with us most of the time, but when we were at home it wasn't fun.
At my job, I work for a company that works for financial institutions. Last year we got all the standard bank holidays off work, but this year the only ones we're actually getting paid for is New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The others are floating holidays. If you worked one of the other bank holidays, you'd get 8 hours PTO for something else, or you could take off that holiday. We also accrue 4.92 hours per pay period (every two weeks), starting from day 1. If there's a big event coming up and you'll be gone for a week and you only have 4 days, usually the managers will OK it because you're going to earn that last day within a month.
After 5 years here, you earn more hours off per pay period, but I'm not sure how much. And you use your PTO for everything. My first manager gave everyone her cell phone number and told us we were free to text her if we weren't going to be in, there was no need to call. And we didn't need to give any reason, just "Not going to be in today." That was it. Nobody asks questions. If I want to take a day to go shopping for someone, or just have a nice day in the park, I can do that.
If at the end of the year you have more than 80 PTO hours still accrued, anything over 80 will either be put in an Extended Disability Leave bank (EDL) for if you get really sick and need more time saved up (usually for cancer or taking care of someone with a terminal illness) or you can get a buyback of it. 80 hours will carry over to the next year, so you can possibly start day 1 of the new year with 80 hours leave.
Our company recommends that we take off at least one continuous week, but they don't require it. The only stipulation they have over the holidays is that you have a "buddy" who can cover for you while you're gone. With me and the other sales assistant, it's fairly easy. I took Christmas last year, she had just been hired on, so this year she's taking this week to go back home (few hours' drive away) and I'm taking New Year's off. With some of the other people, it's a bit more of a problem because everyone wants off, but it's a matter of who asks first.