New Thoughts on Time-off for Employees


As cultural diversity increases in our workforce, we might want to change the way we think about giving our employees 8 paid holidays and two weeks’ vacation. Flexibility is one of the things we are told millennials want and since they are expected to outnumber boomers by 2019, we need to reconsider our vacation and holiday programs. They also tend to stay in jobs for only 18-36 months according to SHRM surveys. Flexibility also leads to engagement of the workforce. Another reason to rethink is the low unemployment rate causing greater competition in getting new employees.

Here are some options both large and small companies could consider:

Pay for time worked with unlimited time off based on getting work done.
This works well if you have part-time and full-time employees who want the flexibility.  You can do longevity pay rather than vacation or sick time.

Trading traditional holidays for days off of their choosing or Floating Holidays
No laws require employers to provide floating holidays.  Doing so acknowledges the increasing diversity of today’s labor market.

PTO (Paid Time off) Banks which don’t differentiate between sick leave and vacation time
While this great idea rewards those who do not use all there sick time and helps employers schedule time off rather than deal with sick days, some new laws in NYC and CA have legislation requiring employers to provide employees with a certain amount of paid sick leave make the administration a bit more complex

Forced Time Off
This is a new twist on the old shut-downs manufacturing companies did to retool their plants.  The new thought is that employees do better work if they take time off.  Some companies pay a bonus if they take their vacation away from home to give them a greater incentive.

While in the past this has been available to academics and clergy, some companies are offering  in addition to vacation time, six-weeks paid time off once every four years with little stipulations as to how the time will be used.  This is certainly an attractive employee retention plan.

Whatever plan you put in place, you do need to follow the law regardless of the number of employees you have.

Understand your goals related to the company and employees and get some help to put a plan in place that obeys all the laws but still helps you to achieve those goals.