Because we hire good people that we trust — and because we believe in the benefits of taking time off (building into your family, recreation, exploration, re-charging, friendships, etc.) — we have a flexible vacation policy.
Full-time, salaried employees of Differential at the time of hire are eligible for paid time off.
How it Works and Restrictions:
- Flexible Time Off is on a Request and Approval Basis. PTO must be approved by HR prior to taking time off. We want you to take PTO in order to do your best work. We just need to be able to plan for it appropriately.
- PTO requests require permission, and performance or business needs may deem the request ineligible.
- PTO requests are made through Rippling, which will automatically get added to the shared Differential Google calendar. This is for capacity management and planning purposes (we must make sure we're fulfilling business obligations).
- Please share your vacation plans with the immediate team you're working with well before (at least a few weeks) your time off. Be a good teammate and make sure you tie up any loose ends. Give people any critical information they need and a way to reach you (in case of emergency only).
- You can take time off in increments (i.e. a few hours at a time), however, if you are “flexing” time, you only need to communicate that to your team and you don’t need to book as time-off. Flex time is when you move time around to accommodate life, and you make it up either before or after. Some people may flex an hour from the morning to the evening or an afternoon to the weekend. The goal is to maintain freedom and flexibility with scheduling while still meeting work expectations. If you do not intend to make up the time (or end up not making up the time), then you should request it as PTO in Rippling.
- Use good judgment with timing. If you're working on a project with critical dates/needs, plan around them to the best of your ability.
- Upon employment termination, any paid time off will be forfeited.
Final Thoughts: Please don't abuse this policy. For many reasons, we think this is the best possible policy (and checks the "flexibility" box very well), but it only works if you respect your teammates and our clients and use good judgment.
Use it! While not required, we highly recommend taking at least two weeks of time off per year, not including company holidays.
Actually disconnect. Don't be "that person" who is responding to emails throughout their time off. While we know that it's sometimes necessary to be available, legitimately spending some time "off the grid" is amazing for you, your personal and familial relationships. Also, no one person is so important that this company would fall apart if you checked out for a week or two.
Though we do have a flexible vacation policy (see the previous section, "Flexible Vacation"), the following are paid company observed holidays, meaning we don't expect anyone to be working (and you do not have to request it off).
Company Observed Holidays:
- New Year's Day (January 1 or closest work day if New Year's Day falls on a weekend)
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day (third Monday in January)
- Who Dey! (Conditional Holiday*)
- Memorial Day (last Monday in May)
- Independence Day (July 4)
- Labor Day (first Monday in September)
- Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday in November)
- Christmas Eve (December 24 or closest work day if Christmas Eve falls on a weekend)
- Christmas Day (December 25 or closest work day if Christmas falls on a weekend)
*Who Dey! If the Cincinnati Bengals go to the Super Bowl, the Monday after the Super Bowl is a Company Observed Holiday.
In addition to our Holiday Policy, we also have 3 Floating Holiday’s, which may be used on any Federal or Religious Holiday (or day before or after one of those holidays), of your choosing.
Some examples of where Floating Holidays may be used are:
- New Year's Eve
- Good Friday or Easter Monday (Friday before Easter or Day after Easter)
- Veterans Day
- Day after Thanksgiving
If you have any questions about how to use a Floating Holiday, please reach out to HR.
It is the policy of Differential to provide up to 26 weeks of parental leave to eligible employees, with the goal of reinforcing the freedom and flexibility of Differential.
The purpose of this policy is to give parents the needed flexibility and time to bond with their new child and adjust to their new family situation. At Differential, we believe in family over work and know that flexibility and family-friendly policies are essential to cultivating an atmosphere where employees can thrive professionally with relatively minimum sacrifice to family life.
Full-time employees of Differential who have been employed at least six months. The employee must meet one of the following criteria:
- Have given birth to a child
- Are a spouse or committed partner of a woman who has given birth to a child (inclusive of children born to surrogate mothers)
- Have adopted a child who is 17 years old or younger (does not apply to the adoption of a stepchild by a stepparent)
- Have become a foster parent to a child who is 17 years old or younger
Amount and Provisions
Eligible employees may take up to 26 weeks of parental leave in total. For women who have given birth, the first six weeks will be compensated at 100 percent of the employee's regular pay with an additional 20 weeks available, unpaid (it should also be noted that we have a private, locked area for lactation / pumping purposes – please contact HR for assistance). For everyone else, the first three weeks will be compensated at 100% of the employee's salary with an additional 23 weeks available, unpaid.
If the employee is enrolled in Health Insurance through Differential, the benefits may remain the same while an employee is on parental leave, please reach out to HR for more information. If the employee is contributing to a 401k through Guideline, the contribution amount while on parental leave is up to the employee's discretion.
All parental leave described in this policy is available for a 12-month period following the birth, adoption or placement of a foster child.
Multiple births, complications, adoptions or foster placements and anything else not mentioned here do not automatically increase the length of parental leave, but if there is a need/issue, let's talk – chances are we'll be glad to work with you. If an employee leaves Differential, they are not eligible for payment of unused parental leave. Parental leave can not be used for purposes other than those described in this policy.
Differential provides 80 hours per year of paid time off for sick days/mental health days. Stay home and focus on getting better when you are not feeling well. We do not require a doctor's note. However, if you are seriously sick, your first priority is to get better. If you require extended sick leave, please talk to HR about how Di can help.
Every person and every situation is different and we are happy to talk it out and find the right time off that works for you.
Jury Duty and Court Cases
It's your civic duty and Differential will compensate you at your normal salary.
We'll keep your job for you as required by USERRA. Visit https://www.dol.gov/agencies/vets/programs/userra for more information.
Equipment & Reimbursement Request Policy
The goal of this policy is to create clarity for employees of Differential, and provide the equipment needed to do your job.
Full-time employees of Differential.
We recognize that a good computer is essential to our work. As a new employee, your first computer will be purchased and provided to you on your first day. To get a new computer, please request one by contacting HR. New computers generally must meet these specs for your role:
- Engineering/Designer Roles: 14” MacBook Pro with M2 Max chip
- All other roles: 13’’ MacBook Air M2
If you need better, more expensive or different equipment to do your job effectively then please let us know when requesting. You are eligible to upgrade to a new computer roughly every (3) three years, because we want to upgrade machines in coordination with Apple’s new MacBook releases. So talk with HR when you want to request a new machine and trade in your old one.
All work computers will be covered with Apple Care and must have their serial numbers logged and checked in with the Security Team to comply with company security policy.
Test Device Policy
Our Test Device Policy covers mobile devices, TV devices, or any other physical hardware devices needed for testing and development. So if you're a developer working on a React Native product, you may need to have access to a physical testing device. You can request Test Devices by contacting HR and they will be provided to you. Test Devices must be returned to the company when you leave the company or move teams and no longer need the Test Device.
Reimbursement Request Policy
We understand that there are items and tools that Employees may need to help be more efficient in your role. All items should be requested prior to purchase using the Purchase Request Form, and sent to HR.
What to Consider when Requesting for Reimbursement:
We want you to have access to equipment, education, and software that helps you in your role. What qualifies for reimbursement? Here are questions to ask yourself that are helpful guidelines:
- Does this help me do my job more efficiently?
- Is this an ordinary business expense?
- Is this a necessary business expense?
Also, the IRS requires us to follow some rules. Keep these in mind as well:
- 🧾 Expenses must have an itemized receipt.
- 📅 Expenses must be submitted within 30 days of purchase.
- 🗄 Expenses must have a direct business purpose and must be both “necessary” and “ordinary” to qualify for reimbursement per the IRS.
How do I get Reimbursed?
Use Rippling Spend, and remember receipts must be added within 30 days of purchase and the expenses must be categorized for proper accounting.
What happens if I leave the Company?
All equipment provided or paid for by the company via reimbursement shall remain an asset of the company for the duration of your employment. However, you should treat the equipment as your own, because when you leave the company, one of the following things may happen:
- You will be able to keep your equipment.
- If you have only been at the company a short period of time, we will ask you to return your equipment and arrange to have it shipped back to HQ.
- If you leave the company, we may ask you to return it or, if you prefer, to purchase it from us. This will not happen in all cases. If you do purchase it, the total charge will reflect the depreciated value of the equipment. If the equipment was not fully reimbursed, the company will reimburse you for the remaining amount you paid if the company requests you return the equipment (without any depreciation).
This will be decided on a case-by-case basis, and the decision will reflect criteria such as tenure, age of the equipment, and reason for leaving the company (e.g. someone who leaves because of gross misconduct is unlikely to be allowed to keep their equipment).
Differential Company Events
Differential hosts various company events each year, such as Di Week, our annual all company get together. These company events allow us time to connect as a team, do company wide retro’s and so much more. These weeks are truly the best, because we have the best teammates! Differential will pay travel and lodging expenses for these company sponsored events, including transportation to/from the airport and hotel. Meals are covered under a per diem amount dependent on the location of the event. Reach out to HR if there are any questions.
Cincinnati HQ Visit
As a remote first company, we recognize the desire to connect with our teammates beyond the computer screen. You can come visit HQ each year, outside of the planned Differential Company Events. Differential will pay for travel and lodging expenses, including transportation to/from the airport and hotel. Meals will be covered under a per diem amount. We highly encourage you to coordinate your trip with others on the team. Reach out to HR to book your trip to Cincinnati, we can’t wait to see you in Cincinnati!
Now the fun stuff! Everyone is paid semi-monthly via Rippling. We pay via direct deposit.
We benchmark against competitive rates from the Cincinnati area, and target to be in the top quartile of pay.
Career Growth At Differential
Our compensation is simple but powerful. While you may be able to make more money working somewhere else, we are willing to make sacrifices in pay in exchange for the freedom and flexibility and strong culture we currently enjoy.
A Value Based System
It's extremely important that we have a fair and transparent system to empower employees and ensure that they aren't being taken advantage of. We don’t do intense salary negotiations. Instead, we offer competitive salaries at every level of employment.
When hiring, the level a person starts at is based on their experience and responsibilities. In the circumstance where we've made a mistake on an entry level, we will quickly change the level to match the employee's skill level. Each employee of Differential may be designated as either exempt or non-exempt based on federal and / or state wage and hour regulations.
We value long-term employment and strive to be a place where people with a passion for building digital products can grow and sustain their career. We have an Alliance Framework to support you in your Career Path. Everyone has a Work Coach and an Alliance Coach who are your advocates and help you grow through regular 1-on-1 meetings. In the spirit of our coaching culture, your Work Coach will provide guidance on your day-to-day work, while your Alliance Coach will provide insight on your career growth at Differential more broadly.
We base our levels on the midwest pay scale, specifically focusing in Cincinnati. We evaluate the levels every year based on compensation (using pay scale or equivalent) and then we adjust our pay to be in the top 25% of salaries in the Cincinnati Area. We also use the CPI (consumer price index) to evaluate the rates of inflation on cost of living. If a trend is prevalent, we will adjust levels to keep pace with inflation. We may choose to lag a quarter or two behind so that we don't ever adjust salaries lower.
We use titles to encapsulate peer groups and provide a high-level career progression blueprint – a Career Path. These career progression blueprints are meant to provide clarity and context for Alliance conversations. Most people start off in either the Designer Career Path or Developer Career Path. The levels in each Career Path are the pay scales as you progress throughout the company. The important thing to note is that we evaluate based on "proven ability" and "proven experience," meaning that you should be performing and doing the work of the level above where you currently are, and be capable of reaching the level above that before a promotion would take place. At the end of every year, we do a company wide evaluation using three criteria: 1) Core Values. 2) Experience. 3) Responsibilities. That means you don't have to ask for a raise or promotion – Everyone is evaluated at the same time, using the same criteria. Our compensation framework is designed to align career growth with compensation growth.
401K - Guideline
A 401(k) plan lets you contribute money, pre-tax or post-tax, to a retirement plan. These assets can accumulate tax-deferred until withdrawn during retirement.
Our selected provider has the lowest fees in the industry (0.03% participant fee) with average fund expenses around (0.10%).
There are also three socially responsible investing (SRI) funds available to select in our plan.
Did you know that only 12% of small businesses have a retirement plan. Isn't that crazy?! So please take this opportunity to invest in yourself!
How It Works
You are automatically enrolled when you are hired. 4% of your salary will be put into the retirement plan unless you opt out.
Differential offers a 100% match on your first 3% of contribution and a 50% match on your next 2% of contribution. For example, if you contribute 5% of your salary, Differential will contribute an additional 4%. You are immediately vested.
Learn more at Guideline.com.
Differential offers employer sponsored health insurance through Aetna. Employees will have the option to make elections once a year during our open enrollment period, or if there is a special enrollment period for Qualifying Life Events. Differential offers a 100% employer sponsored life insurance plan. We also offer voluntary plans for Dental and Vision. If you have any questions regarding insurance or benefits, please reach out to HR.
Contractors at Differential
Contractors of Differential are not eligible for employee benefits.
Other Compensation Information
Differential provides insurance to compensate for any illness or injury an employee might suffer while working on company premises, traveling on official company business, or attending an activity officially sponsored by the company.
Visit https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/workcomp for more information.
The law provides unemployment compensation benefits to protect workers from economic hardship due to a loss of employment. An employee may be eligible for unemployment compensation if they were terminated for reasons other than misconduct, as defined by state law.
Visit https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/unemployment-insurance and https://oui.doleta.gov/unemploy/uifactsheet.asp for more information.
By court order, a creditor may force the company to withhold wages and turn them over to the court. We will make every effort to confidentially assist the employee through this process. Employees are expected to cooperate with the company fully during garnishment.
Child Support Reporting Requirements
If the state determines that you owe child support, it will send Differential an order requiring us to withhold money from your paycheck to pay your child support obligations. We are required to comply with such orders as a matter of federal and state law.
Employment at Will
Your employment is on an at-will basis, meaning that either of us may end the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause and with or without notice.