Your time-off policies can be an important consideration in attracting and retaining employees. Employers Council survey data will help you compare your policies to the marketplace in your community (do you lead or lag the market?) and make informed strategic decisions for your organization. We have data on the average number of holidays or vacation schedule, as well as information on sick leave, bereavement leave, paid jury duty, medical leaves, personal leaves and other types of time off. We also gather data on newer trends like consolidated paid-time-off plans and the effects of unlimited paid time off.
Start making informed strategic decisions regarding your paid-time-off policies.
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We Ask Our Members What Information They Need to Make Informed Decisions
We regularly conduct community and industry roundtables to determine our members’ survey needs, so that the data we gather consistently addresses concerns that are top-of-mind for employers.
Types of Survey Data Available to Members
H3 (or a bullet): Holiday Schedule
A membership with Employers Council can help you determine how you should craft your holiday policies to attract and retain talent without compromising productivity. Our survey data and HR experts can help you answer questions like whether you should offer paid time off for the day after Thanksgiving, or how much time you should give off for Christmas.
Vacation policies can be effective in differentiating yourself as a desirable employer. Employers Council survey data can help you look at vacation policies by industry, so you can get a sense for what your competitors are offering, and whether this is an area you have an opportunity to stand out in.
Employers Council survey data and HR consultants can help you decide whether you should package your sick leave policy together with vacation days or keep them separate, and how to establish a policy that addresses the situation of an employee dealing with a longer-term illness. Having clear sick policies helps prevent ambiguity and dissatisfaction within an organization (nobody wants to have to negotiate whether a day counts toward paid time off when they’re sick), and can help you balance what kind of vacation and holiday time off you offer.
Establishing a bereavement policy in your employee handbook is a great way to show respect to your employees. As an employer, there are other considerations you need to think about in the event a bereavement policy takes effect. Employers Council HR consultants and employment law experts can help you navigate questions in the event of a death in an employee’s family or a fatal workplace accident like:
- What to share with coworkers
- Benefits available to employees, including leaves of absence or use of an employee assistance program
- Whether you should offer counseling to coworkers
- What you can do to reach out to the employee or the employee’s family
- How to adjust the workload internally and manage added responsibilities
- Attending memorial or funeral services
- How to handle periodic check-ins with an employee dealing with the loss of a family member on how they are doing and when they can return to work
Read our blog post on bereavement leave to get a sense for how to think about this topic, and contact Employers Council to help craft a policy that is a true reflection of how your organization cares for and respects its workers.
Paid Jury Duty
Basic employers obligations around jury duty are found in 28 U.S.C. § 1875 – Protection of jurors’ employment. A few highlights:
- Employers may not discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate, or coerce any permanent employee regarding jury service.
- After jury service, an employee is entitled to reinstatement as though having been on a furlough or leave of absence. There is no loss of seniority, and participation in insurance and other benefits is dictated by the employer’s rules and practices regarding employees on furlough.
- If an employer violates an employee’s jury duty rights, the employee may be able to recoup attorney’s fees in an action against the employer, or even have the court appoint counsel to represent him or her.
More information can be found at the United States Courts’ web page, including this useful FAQ. States have their own laws regarding juror service, and Employers Council has all of this information readily available to you.
Employers Council can help you stay compliant with the laws surrounding jury duty in your state when an employee gets called up for it, and craft clear policies set that set employee expectations beforehand.
FMLA provides job-protected leave to employees with a serious health condition, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. Employers Council can ensure that your medical leave policies are compliant with employment laws, and can help you think through how to communicate those policies to your employees in the event that they need to take a medical leave of absence.
Personal leave refers to anything that falls under the umbrella of paid time off (PTO). This can be a combination of sick days and vacation days. Employers Council gathers survey data on standards set by different companies in different geographic regions and industries so that, as a member, you can make informed decisions that help you achieve your goals – whether that’s increasing productivity or attracting top talent.
Resources to Help Apply Survey Insights to your Workplace
As part of your membership, we hold annual briefing sessions to assist members in understanding and applying our survey data in their workplace. You also have access to an assigned staff person, who is either an attorney, HR professional, or organizational development instructor, who can help you navigate workplace policies, compliance with state and federal laws, and any specific circumstances or situations that arise.
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What are the pros and cons of an unlimited PTO policy?
- Employees enjoy autonomy and self-determination
- Employees view their employer as forward-thinking, which helps attract the younger (Millennial) generation
- UPTOPs eliminate the administrative burden of tracking time off and the financial burden of paying out earned and unused PTO upon termination
- Managing time off under the ADA and FMLA can be challenging
- Employers must determine what to do with existing accrued PTO or paid vacation
- Usually, once vacation or PTO is earned, it cannot be forfeited
- The potential for abuse is high
Interested in considering an unlimited PTO policy? Read our blog post that discusses these pros and cons, and provides a path for implementation.
An injured worker has asked to supplement temporary total disability payments by using accrued vacation/sick leave or paid time off. What should I do?
This depends upon state law. For example, Colorado law neither prohibits nor requires that an employer allow an injured worker to use vacation, sick leave, or paid time off (PTO) to supplement temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. However, if an employer allows such a practice, it may create a situation where the injured worker is actually being paid more money while sitting home than they receive while working. This situation has a negative impact on the injured worker's desire to return to work. The 66 2/3 percent TTD benefit paid to the injured worker is untaxed and usually approximates the normal net take home pay of the employee when the employee is working.
What Can I Do if An Employee is Abusing FMLA Leave?
A: Employers must conduct a proper and thorough investigation. Make sure you gather as much information as possible. The more documentation you have, the better defense you have to an FMLA interference or retaliation claim. After gathering the relevant information, you should contact the employee in question. Confirm his or her request for the continuous leave under the original circumstances it was approved. Emphasize that your organization takes fraudulent conduct seriously and confirm his or her understanding of that. (It’s best if you can point to a written policy or attendance practice stating that fraudulently obtaining leave or abusing leave is not tolerated and can be grounds for immediate termination.) Then confront the employee about the observations from you or others as to his or her whereabouts during the leave of absence, and give the employee a chance to explain their behavior. Inform the employee that the company is conducting a thorough investigation of the incident and that he or she will be notified about their employment at its conclusion.
For more information, read our blog post on this topic. If you suspect one of your employees is abusing FMLA leave, please contact Employers Council so we can assist you.