PTO: Benefit or Burden?

PTO: Benefit or Burden?Paid Time Off is a benefit that most employers offer and most employees enjoy. But these days, it seems as though employees are taking less and less time off. According to this Forbes article and a 2012 survey by Harris Interactive, “57% of salaried workers don’t take all of their allotted time off.” Whether it is the consciousness of competition within the workplace that holds people back, or the fear of being perceived as a slacker, employees who do not take advantage of their PTO can actually be a big liability for companies.

Imagine your HR department receiving news that one or more of your employees, both with significant amounts of PTO accrued, are leaving at or around the same time. Those paid hours are then due to the employees, and Payroll is cutting them large goodbye-checks. This could cause significant damage to your company’s cash flow.

So what can your company do to prevent this? Consider these options:

Put a cap on PTO Accruals – Allow employees as much time off as you see fit, but with a limit. If an employee reaches the maximum cap, their PTO will stop accruing until they take time off.

Offer Incentives and Set Guidelines – Some employers are offering incentives to their employees who take time off. Extra bonuses are given to encourage the use of PTO. At the same time, letting employees know that they are required to take xx days off in a row can help minimize the build-up of hours owed.

Offer Unlimited PTO – There are an increasing amount of companies who are cutting back on PTO limitations altogether. So long as employees get their time approved by a supervisor, the idea is they are free to take as many days as they like.

While these options may not be the right fit for your company, it is important to determine what is. Being able to offer your employees time off can prove to be a great benefit to companies—allowing employees to recharge and refocus. However, without a structured policy and an HR individual or team staying on top of company-wide PTO accrual, employers might find themselves at risk of seeing some hits to their bottom line when employees leave.

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