Open enrollment, office holiday parties, and PTO are some of the many joys that come with the end of the year. PTO or sick and vacation time off changes are cropping up at this time of year, too, however, if you're singing the PTO blues, that does mean at least you're a pretty okay employer.
Some companies struggle with getting their employees to take all the time allotted and struggle under hefty payouts. Others need staff in the office during the holiday period and have to deal with resentment and frustration from their staff. Here are some common PTO Blues you might hear this time of year (and some suggestions from those who’ve been there!)
Many HR Pros struggle with having an overarching PTO strategy versus a vacation time and separate sick time off bucket. Some states require the two to be separate, so check with your local SHRM chapter or your friendly employment lawyer. But if you don’t have to have one or two buckets, the choice can be frustrating. Which is better for your people?
Worst Case Scenario: You suffer accrual overload. Some employees may be so reticent to use PTO for sick and personal days, you find yourself paying out tons post year’s end. While vacations are a legal carry forward entitlement, sick days are use it or lose it and there was no carry forward entitlement.
In a defined vacation and sick time system, without the use it or lose it option, employees often tend to charge sick time instead of vacation time and/or come to work when they don’t feel well as not to accumulate too many sick days used.
So let’s say you go with an integrated PTO concept. Forty-three percent of companies offered PTO in 2016, up from 28% in 2002, according to a report from World at Work, which also said 51% of private companies, which would include small and mid-size businesses, offered PTO last year. You’ll need to address carryover or accrual, which has as many different options as the rainbow. Some structural ideas:
No matter how you structure your PTO or vacation and sick leave, keep in mind these important ideas:
PTO is an effective recruiting tool and can make employees feel more empowered in the long run when done correctly. 662 million vacation days were left on the table by employees last year…don’t let that happen to you! By structuring a plan that works for your company and employees, communicating it effectively and encouraging your employees to take vacation and sick time when they need to, you don’t have to suffer through the PTO blues!
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