Time Off Policies – Leave Well Enough Alone or Go PTO

Time Off Policies: Leave Well Enough Alone or Go PTO


Employers are finding that offering employees paid time off (PTO) days is good for everyone. In fact, it is a trend that many employers find makes them more attractive to employees that they would like to hire. It also helps to eliminate the cost of trying to keep up with the types of days that an employee has available to use. Furthermore, it keeps an employer from having to try to determine if an employee is lying when using these days..

What is Currently Happening?

Different industries have different expectations for time off, but there are some generalizations that can be drawn. More employees have access to personal days, sick days and family leave days than in recent years. Those same employees have less vacation days than in recent years. Keeping track of the individual days and deciding who gets what types of days can be a nightmare.


What is PTO
What is PTO

What is PTO?

Under the traditional system, employees were given or accumulated a certain number of sick days, compensation days and vacation days. These days had to be used for a specific purpose based on the type of day that the employee needed. With this new system, employees receive or accumulate PTO days that they can use however they want. They can take them as vacation days or they can use them for their own personal illness or the illness of a family member.

What are the Main Advantages of PTO?

There are several advantages to PTO depending on a person’s circumstances. First, using a PTO plan reduces unscheduled absences because employees can request the time off when they want it. Furthermore, this reduces loss of productivity as employees can get their work done before their planned day off. Implementing a PTO plan helps to reduce compliance issues. It also helps to make an employer more attractive to new employees. Perhaps, most importantly, it empowers people to make choices that affect their own lives. Therefore, they are more likely to stay with a company.


The Drawbacks
The Drawbacks

What are the Drawbacks?

If this sounds great so far, realize that there are some drawbacks. First, the policy must be put in writing. Faithful employees who have accumulated many days under the old plan must either be compensated for those days or they must be rolled fairly into the new plan.

Eliminate Confusion by Putting it In Writing

It is important to put the plan in writing. The plan must spell out when the days may be used and who has to approve the days. Putting it in writing helps to eliminate the feeling of preferential treatment among employees. The written plan must say how long ahead of time the employee must request the day off. Furthermore, it must clearly spell out what constitutes an emergency and what proof the employee needs to furnish such as a doctor’s note.

The Main Source of Objection

Employees who are taking care of sick children or elderly family members may be somewhat resistant to this new plan. While those who do not have such responsibilities have more vacation days, those who do may need to use their days to care for others.


Implement the Plan
Implement the Plan

How Does A Company Implement the Plan?

Your employees will have countless questions as you roll out the new plan. Therefore, it is best to work with a professional human resources company. They can hold meetings with groups of your employees to explain the details of your new plan. They can also help answer individual questions by providing employees with phone numbers and emails where they can ask their questions.

Top Leadership Must Support PTO

As with all changes, it is important that top leadership get on board quickly and that they are enthusiastic about the new plan. They should also commit to reviewing the plan on a regular basis to make sure that it is working as intended. Showing an enthusiastic attitude toward PTO will trickle down to employees working under that leadership.

Soon, everyone will be on board with the new plan. However, don’t forget the importance of employee recordkeeping. More importantly, simplify the process by using standard employee vacation request forms. It’s critical that these records be at your fingertips for other HR and staffing reports. Each business will need to decide if this new PTO program is right for them. The vast majority will decide that it makes great business sense. There will be some however in circumstances where this plan does not make sense and they are better off leaving it alone.


Article provided by Neches FCU, an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.
Neches FCU is one of the top Texas Credit Unions. Its superior team of professionals is always ready to provide services to all members. They are respected for a personal, positive work atmosphere, delivering a memorable service experience, and where all clients are known by name.