With all the cost cutting employers have had to do during the recent recession to stay afloat, it’s comforting to know that a key employee benefit near and dear to everyone’s heart has survived — paid vacations. According to a WorldatWork research report, Paid Time Off Programs and Practices*, a majority of U.S. employers still offer paid time off. In fact, three out of four survey respondents say it’s necessary to offer paid time off programs and do so in traditional and non-traditional ways.
Three types of paid-time-off programs:
Traditional system — Gives employees separate allotments for vacation, personal and sick days.
PTO banks — Workers receive a pooled number of days off that can be used as needed (generally excluding fixed holidays, jury duty and bereavement).
Unlimited leave – Employees can take as many days off as needed.
The United States is among the minority of countries in the United Nations with no guarantee of paid leave for workers. The WorldatWork study found that a majority of U.S. employers offer it as a key employee benefit even if they are not mandated to do so. With the focus of the Obama Administration and Congress on expanding access to paid leave programs, the research shows that employers recognize the competitive advantage of offering paid time off and believe in continuing these programs, in good times and in bad.
Other key findings:
A vast majority of employers provide paid sick leave.
The average number of paid sick days in a traditional system is nine.
PTO bank systems do not distinguish between vacation and sick time.
Employers offer an average of nine paid holidays each year.
Amidst pay cuts and wage freezes, time is emerging as the new currency, and it’s nice to know employers remain committed to rewarding and motivating employees with paid time off.
*Published in May 2010, data for the WorldatWork Paid Time Off Programs and Practices survey was gathered from Feb. 17-March 5, 2010. Of the 1,036 responses, 37 percent came from companies with 5,000 or more employees.