Fa-La La Laaaaaa – La – Cough – Cough – Sneeze

Fa-La La Laaaaaa – La – Cough – Cough - Sneeze

We have officially entered my favorite time of the year and I’M SO EXCITED (cough - cough)!!!! With rapid-fire holidays approaching and everyone basically checked out at work, nothing could be more magical (unless of course you own or manage a business).  Tis’ the season for time off! There are, of course, holidays, and since it also happens to be flu season, there are plenty of sick days.  And to top it all off, the kids are out of school and family togetherness time is at an all-time high, so vacation days are in high demand.  (I could even be a real downer and mention that Thanksgiving is the single biggest day of the year for kitchen fires, so we could even throw bereavement leave in there…but let’s not. I’m in too good a mood.)

If this year has you rethinking the structure of your employee leave policy, here are some tips to help make it all a little less stressful:

  1. Deciding between granted or accrued leave? Granted, a fixed amount given to be used at any time during the year tends to be more flexible for your employees.  Accrued, leave earned throughout the year, may offer you the employer a bit more flexibility.
  2. What to do with unused time? Depending on how your leave policy reads, some employers find they need to count unused vacation or sick time as a liability on their balance sheet.  Decide if you want to pay out for unused days, or have a “use it or lose it” policy.  Whatever you decide, make sure it is stated clearly in your employee manual.
  3. Unlimited PTO?? Looks like somebody is shooting for boss of the year! Some businesses are actually doing this and finding that employees tend not to take more time than they need when self-regulating.  Ultimately, this type of policy works really well for some businesses and really, really poorly for others – if you are toying with the idea of unlimited paid time off check this out.
  4. Happy Holidays!! Holidays can be a sticky topic in the workplace.  Not everyone celebrates the same ones and some don’t celebrate at all. As an employer, you are not required to give paid or unpaid time off for the holidays*.  If you choose to do so, decide which and how they will be paid.  Maybe not everyone celebrates the holidays you choose, but most people enjoy a good day off.
  5. Who gets what? This is largely dependent on the size and type of your business, but as an employer, you can choose which classification of employee receives access to leave benefits.  Again, whatever you choose should be made clear to your employees so there is no question when they request time off.  Employee manuals are awesome for this purpose.

*I mentioned above that you are not required to offer holiday time off to your employees. That is true, BUT you may be required to allow an employee time off if they request it for religious purposes per EEOC requirements. A really good way to make sure you are doing this is by offering your employees a floating holiday – think of it as an automatic religious accommodation!

For more info or ideas on how to make your holiday/vacation/sick policies work for your business, contact me at bkingsbury@clark-mortenson.com or 877-352-2121.

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