Limited or unlimited, here’s how to craft a good PTO policy
Putting together a PTO policy that benefits employers and employees alike can be tricky. Particularly when employers don’t yet see the results of their employees’ time off. Here are a few suggestions from Robin and Michael for crafting a PTO policy that covers unlimited PTO or more typical paid leave.
“For unlimited PTO, eliminate ambiguity,” Michael says. “Employees need guidance.” His top three tips include:
- Making sure you have clear boundaries around what is considered an actionable range of days to take off. Set these standards in an employee handbook for employees to reference.
- Making sure employees take time off. Consider requiring employees to take a minimum amount of vacation days per year.
- Fostering a culture that encourages time off. FullContact, for example, gives employees a travel stipend to encourage them to unplug and go on vacation. This could also be built into a company’s culture. Managers and peers should encourage vacation time to help reduce any guilt or shame that employees might otherwise associate with taking time off.
“At Namely, we often share photos of our vacations in our company news feed, encouraging managers and employees alike to shut down and tune out while they are off,” he says.
“Make sure you keep an open dialog,” says Robin. “If your employees are sick, pregnant, or experiencing another time- and resource-consuming situation, you want them to feel comfortable approaching you. When employees know paid leave policies exist, it will help open the door to better communication around how to juggle life events and job responsibilities.” Her top three tips include:
- Preparing for pending legislation. Even if your city or state has not yet been affected by paid leave or sick time laws, the speed with which cities are introducing new legislation should signal that it might be around the corner.
- Working with leadership to get ahead and outline what a revamped paid leave policy could look like at your company.
- Getting everyone on the same page. Most of the recently introduced paid leave policies affect employers and employees alike, so it’s important that everyone in your company understands how the program works.
“Generous paid leave policies can reiterate that your company supports the idea of a work-life balance,” says Robin. “An example here would be, at Intuit, we expanded the definition of bereavement for employees and added pets. We found that furry friend of yours is definitely a member of your family, and we provide one paid day off if your furry friend passes away.”
Robin says Intuit has received great employee feedback from this new policy. Employees who didn’t realize how hard the loss of a family pet was going to hit their family or how difficult it was going to be to explain death to their children have appreciated the company’s stance on bereavement.
For more information about how to craft a fair PTO plan, check out our webinar, “How to Craft a PTO Policy That Works for Everyone.” Then consult an employment attorney in your area to make sure your plan takes into account the specific wage and hour laws of your city or state. And good luck!