PTO Policies

When was the last time you reviewed your Paid Time Off (PTO) policy? Do you still separate vacation and sick time?

Having a flexible PTO policy allows the employee to choose how they use their paid time off. By combining their vacation, sick, and personal days, it’s easier for human resources or the supervisor to track days off. The reason for the time off becomes less important, especially if the time off is previously scheduled. By encouraging scheduled time off, practices can run more efficiently.

That does not mean that all employees will use their PTO wisely. There is always the employee that uses all his time and still wants more time off. For that reason, having a policy on what is allowed and acceptable helps clarify potential issues. How many and how often hours are accrued should also be included in the policy. This allows employees to know what they have and how much they will earn.

Determine in your policy when time can be taken and how much can be rolled-over into the following year. Although some offices have a “use it or lose it policy,” it makes it difficult for someone who wants to take time off in January. Perhaps a portion of the PTO can be carried over to the following year.

Also, a “use it or lose it” type of policy encourages employees to rush at the end of the year to use their time. If not prepared, a practice can find itself short-staffed.

With the right policies, employers won’t feel the crunch of employees who are using their PTO. What is your policy? Email me at with your interesting or well worded policy.

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