Project: Time Off — a national movement to transform American attitudes and change behavior — reports that 80 percent of workers said they would take more time off if they felt supported and encouraged by their bosses. Beginning in 2000, vacation usage in our country started to fall and has steadily declined since. Some employers may see this as a positive toward productivity, but a burned out employee is not a happy one. And it’s happy employees who boost the bottom line, not those who work the most days.
Most employees are used to getting so many days a year for their vacation time and so many days for sick leave. Some companies have shifted to a “paid time off” or PTO system to make things simpler — and make employees happier. This means that all of those vacation and sick days are pooled into one, and employees can take time off whenever they need a break.
According to The Balance, most U.S. employers offer their workers 10 paid holidays, two weeks of vacation, two personal days and eight sick leave days per year. Using a PTO system, employees would receive 30 days of paid time off to use however they choose. (Many employers choose to keep holidays, jury duty and bereavement separate.)
A PTO system can make a company more attractive to employees, and the argument could be made that employees are using sick days for vacation time anyway. As with any program, PTO can be taken advantage of and should be well thought out and communicated. Employers should also be familiar with their state’s paid sick leave law to make sure they satisfy this requirement if switching to a PTO system.
Here are some pros and cons of PTO:
• Attractive to potential employees and good for retention
• No extra hard cost to the company
• More flexibility for employees
• Easier for the employer to track leave
• Can reduce unscheduled absences
• Employees could use more days and be out of the office more frequently
• Advance notice may not be given to employer (unless policy is set)
• Can be costly to pay for unused days if an employee leaves or is terminated
• Employees may come to work when sick so as not to use up their days
Developing a specific PTO policy can help manage some of the cons and set limits on time taken and what it’s used for. As the employer, you can craft your PTO system to suit your needs and wants (in line with state law) and ultimately create a culture where your employees feel supported to take time off and are more productive when they return.
Related content: 5 Tips to Happy, Healthy Employees
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