Sorbet, an Israel-based fintech startup, is on a mission to draw attention to shortcomings in U.S. paid time off policies with a social media campaign highlighting the importance of paid leave—for both workers and their employers.
Founded in June 2020, Sorbet transforms employees’ unused PTO into usable cash by purchasing it from their employers for a fee of 5%-7.5% of the cash amount. The startup essentially takes the debts that a company owes to employees who worked more days than the company had accounted for in their salaries, and puts the accrued value of those PTO debts onto a prepaid credit card that employees can use anywhere, from gas stations to grocery stores. Sorbet declined to share the number of companies it works with or the names of these companies.
Typically, unused paid leave becomes an “illiquid asset” with a financial value that employees can’t access because it becomes a debt owed by their employer rather than part of their salary, said Veetahl Eilat-Raichel, co-founder and CEO of Sorbet, in an interview. Sorbet gives that debt a physical, immediate value, meaning “you get to be empowered, for the first time ever, to choose whether you want to use this time as time off or if you want to use this for an emergency financial expense or for day-to-day expenses,” she said.