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Making the most of employee paid time off

March 11, 2014 at 6:44 AM

Providing your staff with accrued time off for vacations, sick leave and holidays is a standard workplace benefit that adds value to the job without much cost to your company. Generally, payroll expenses are planned into the budget in advance, and your monthly wages and salary expenses are fixed. Offering paid time off keeps your company competitive in the recruitment and retention of quality employees.

In addition to paid vacations, sick leave and holidays, some companies offer their employees paid time off of for other reasons, such as jury duty, a death in the immediate family, personal business and military reserve training. Some larger organizations offer pre-scheduled coffee breaks throughout the work day.

When designing your own paid time off calendar, you will need to compare the benefit with the cost to your business both in loss of productivity and compensation versus what your employee could earn at the competitor across the street.

Vacations and Holidays

Paid vacations and holidays remain the most standard employee benefit in the workplace. It is a rare exception if a business offers less than this minimum. While paid time off is an optional benefit, most employees view these two types of time off as almost an entitlement.

As the employer, you should take time to understand the value of offering paid vacations and holidays. These benefits give your employees time to rest, rejuvenate and relax with friends and family. They return to work revitalized and more productive.

The question then becomes: how many days off should you provide for your staff? There are multiple holidays throughout the year, but the six most important are:

  • New Year's Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Fourth of July
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving (and the following Friday)
  • Christmas

Most companies recognize these holidays, or give alternate time off and compensation for time worked on those days, if their company runs 24/7. In a survey by Hewitt Associates, a business consultancy that focuses on employee benefits, a miniscule one percent of companies in America give fewer than seven paid holidays annually. More than 28 percent of employers offer at least 10 paid days off for holidays annually.

The other most popular holidays recognized by employers include President’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Veterans’ Day, and Good Friday. In addition, many businesses provide staff with a day off for their birthdays.

Frequently, vacation time accrues at an increasing rate the longer an employee has worked for a business. The most common vacation accruals among U.S. companies are two weeks off after the first year of employment, three weeks of paid time off after the fifth year of employment, four weeks after 10 to 15 years of employment, and five weeks of vacation time after 25 years of service.

Tags: paid time off vacation time
Category: Employee Benefit

Staff Files has been helping small- and mid-sized businesses manage their employees' time-off accruals for over 10 years. Try out the free demo/trial edition of this personnel software to see how easy it can be to manage vacation, sick time, holiday time, personal time, PTO, or any other type of time off your company keeps track of.


Have questions about Staff Files? Call us at 1-800-874-8801 or email us at sales@abs-usa.com

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