Todayâ€™s post comes to us from Workforce Institute board member, bestselling author and managing partner of Workplace Intelligence, Dan Schawbel. An extended version of this article appeared in Danâ€™s weekly newsletter.
Paid time off (PTO) is an employer-provided benefit that grants employees compensation for personal time off, vacation days, federal holidays, sick leave, and maternity and paternity leave. Currently, PTO policies are not a requirement of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Yet over the past half-century, the share of moms who are working either full or part-time has increased from 51% to 72%, and almost half of two-parent families now include two full-time working parents. Given this trend and the recent developments around COVID-19, now more than ever itâ€™s clear that ALL workers should have access to paid time off (among other benefits).
For employees, paid time off is an important part of balancing their professional and personal life. It allows them to take breaks from workâ€”whether vacations or â€˜staycationsâ€™â€”which helps them avoid burnout. This is especially important right now: due to the pandemic, many people are working additional hours, dealing with mental health issues, or struggling to find a work-life balance. But despite the benefits of taking a break from work, 55% of American workers donâ€™t use their vacation time. This amounts to 768 million vacation days that go unused every year.
Offering paid time off also lets employees attend to their personal obligations, from doctorsâ€™ appointments to home improvement projects. Or, employees may simply need time to recuperate from an injury or illness (like COVID-19). When they canâ€™t take time off to recover, the quality of their work suffers and theyâ€™re more likely to spread their illness to colleagues and customers. For women, paid leave helps them remain in the workforce throughout their careers. Access to paid leave is estimated to increase mothersâ€™ labor force participation by approximately 20% during the first year following their childâ€™s birth, an increase that remains significant up to five years later. New mothers who take paid leave are also 54% more likely to report wage increases.
For employers, offering paid time off provides several benefits. It allows them to reduce unscheduled absences and better plan for coverage because employees can schedule days off in advance rather than calling in sick. In fact, employers who offer PTO see a 6% to 8% decrease in employees who miss work without giving notice. Providing paid leave can also boost employeesâ€™ physical and mental health, attitudes toward work, and productivity, all of which benefit the business.
In addition, PTO is a key component of the employee value proposition, especially for women. Over half (58%) of employers say that offering paid leave helps them attract talent. However, itâ€™s also about retentionâ€”employees are more likely to stay with their company when their needs are met and they feel valued. With the average cost of hiring a new employee approximately $4,000, itâ€™s much more financially advisable to pay for time off versus risk losing a team member.
While the benefits of paid time off are clear, the U.S. is the only country among 41 nations that does not mandate any paid parental leave. In Brazil, Spain, Austria, and many other countries, employees are entitled to 30 days' leave, typically after some period of employment. One state paving the way is California, which allows for six weeks of parental or family leave and up to 52 weeks for personal medical needs. The program has increased the average income of new mothers by $3,407 and reduced their risk of dropping below the poverty line by 10.2%. Under the program, the labor force participation of caregivers also increased. And, the vast majority of California employers reported positive or neutral effects on employee productivity (89%) and profitability/performance (91%).
Despite decades of slow progress, COVID-19 is reigniting the discussion around paid leave for lawmakers and employers alike. Companies know that the benefits of giving workers PTO far outweigh the costs, and employee sentiments havenâ€™t changedâ€”paid time off is consistently the #1 most desired benefit. So, if you expect your workers to put in more hours, especially during the pandemic, then recognize that they will need time off. And acknowledge that in order to create a healthier and more human-centric workplace, you have to give employees a break so that they can be fulfilled in all aspects of their personal and professional lives. Itâ€™s simply the right thing to do.
A Harris Survey covered in the LA TimesÂ found that by the end of 2012, Americans will leave an average of 9.2 days of vacation unused, up from the average of 6.2 days in 2011.Â Hopefully as the holidays loom, you'll be planning some downtime and not risking your vacation carryover.Â Research on holiday time off plans we did a few years ago indicated that most employees planned to take time during the December holiday period.
Here are a few other items this week related to workplace productivity during the holidays:
Worker productivity 'wrecked' over the holidays http://ow.ly/fEtIT
Study identifies strategies for workplace productivity during the holiday season (Video) http://ow.ly/fEt36 via @examinercom
Ten Top Tips: Dealing with Persistent Absenteeism: http://www.managementtoday.co.uk/features/1160346/ten-top-tips-dealing-persistent-absenteeism/
13 Great Employee Holiday Incentives That Are Better Than Cash http://ow.ly/fIYkx via @blogging4jobs
Other stories of note this week:
4 Hiring Lessons from the Best Cities for Millennials: http://mashable.com/2012/11/25/4-hiring-lessons-from-the-best-cities-for-millennials/
Corporate America: Don't Give Up On Your Workers: http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2012/11/13/jobs-worker-training/
Fatigue Is Your Enemy http://ow.ly/fBTRK via @HarvardBiz
Sometimes, it Takes a Hurricane to Know What Engagement Looks Like http://ow.ly/fBT5D via @TLNT_com
GRATEFUL LEADERSHIP: A Little Praise Goes A Long Way http://ow.ly/fBSAY via @blogging4jobs
Culture: Hereâ€™s Why It Matters Now More Than Ever Before http://ow.ly/fIYdV @TLNT_com
HR and Leadership - A Complaint Letter From a 25-Year old http://ow.ly/fIYi9 via @hrbartender
RT @pjtec: Published: #KronosWorks 2012 -- #Kronos Hitting on all Cylinders http://ow.ly/fIYqy @KronosInc #HCM #WFM #EnSW
Kronos HR head David Almeda quoted in Obamacare Carries On â€¦ What's Next? http://ow.ly/fCFAL
RT @ChelmsfordPatch: News from @KronosInc , Courier Corporation http://ow.ly/fIYum
RT @NucleusResearch: @KronosInc showed its commitment to innovation in traditional & emerging markets @#KronosWorks12 http://ow.ly/fIYwP
Absence and Employee Disengagement â€“ Whatâ€™s the Connection? http://ow.ly/fBSFB via @simonmacpherson @KronosUK
Just Another Cyber Monday? http://ow.ly/fGNAA via @smartercafe
Help me help you upgrade http://ow.ly/fGNDJ via @smartercafe
Some Assembly Required http://ow.ly/fGNFR via @smartercafe
Not all Luck http://ow.ly/fGNIf via @smartercafe
New Time Well Spent #Cartoon: http://ow.ly/fBRxK #scheduling #shifttrade
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