When it comes to attracting and retaining talent, there are certain workplace benefits that do a better job than others. And of all the perks out there, paid time off is among the most desired in the eyes of employees.
Of course, some companies are more generous than others when it comes to paid time off, and a new report from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans drives home that point. Here are a few interesting statistics employers and employees alike ought to know about.
1. Nearly two-thirds of companies offer a paid-time-off policy that distinguishes between vacation time, personal time, and sick time
A big reason so many workers tend to come to work sick is that their employers don't differentiate between vacation time, personal time, and sick time. Rather, they offer up a single bucket of paid days off for employees to use as needed. The result? Those who don't want to waste those limited days on being sick drag themselves into the office and infect everyone around them. A better practice, and one that's certainly favored by employees, is to offer a paid-time-off package that keeps sick and personal days separate from actual vacation time. After all, lying in bed nursing a fever is hardly a vacation.
2. A good 83% of companies offer paid bereavement leave
The death of a loved one can be not just emotionally draining, but also time-consuming. From funeral arrangements to handling matters relating to a family member's estate, the days following the death of a loved one hardly lend themselves to productivity at the office. Thankfully, a large number of companies are acknowledging the toll the death of a loved one can take by offering paid bereavement leave, as opposed to requiring that employees use their vacation days to deal with it.
3. Only 40% of companies offer paid parental leave
The fact that more companies don't offer some type of paid parental leave is, in the eyes of many, a downright travesty. A good 29% of employers provide absolutely no paid time off for new parents, while 18% allow new parents to take time off under their general vacation policy. But again, childbirth is hardly a vacation, nor is caring for a newborn. Furthermore, many employees don't have enough vacation time accrued to allow for a full recovery from childbirth and transition into parenthood. As such, countless new parents take unpaid leave after having a child and wind up suffering financially as a result.
4. An estimated 83% of companies let employees carry unused time off to the following calendar year
Though some companies force their employees to use their paid time off, 83% allow workers to carry over at least some unused days from one calendar year to the next. And while carrying vacation days can't, and shouldn't, take the place of parental leave, it does give prospective parents more options. For example, if a woman becomes pregnant one year and carries 15 vacation days into the following year, during which time she gives birth, she can essentially buy herself an extra three weeks of maternity leave, even if her company offers no such distinct policy.
5. About one in seven companies offers a vacation sell-back option
Though some employees end up exceeding their allotted time off for the year (and therefore wind up taking time unpaid), there are also those who would rather forgo vacation time in exchange for extra cash. And while most companies don't offer this option, 16% allow hourly employees to trade in their unused paid time off for money, while 14% allow salaried workers to do the same. Of course, not taking time off has been linked to employee burnout and a decline in productivity, so it's not surprising that most companies would rather not encourage vacation day cash-outs. Still, it's good to know that the option might exist.
6. One-fifth of companies have blackout policies
Most companies have their respective busy seasons, and sometimes, that can spell trouble for employees in need of time off. A good 20% of employers impose blackout policies dictating that workers cannot take vacation time during specific periods of the year. On the one hand, it's a smart move for employers who don't want to deal with training and paying for substitute workers during busy stretches. On the other hand, it's a policy that countless workers no doubt come to resent.
7. A surprising 28% of companies allow workers to donate unused time off to those in need
It's not always the case that employees use up their paid time off by year's end, and while some companies do have a carryover policy, an estimated 28% offer a second option: allowing workers to donate unused days to other workers who need them. Furthermore, 3% of companies allow workers to donate the cash value of their unused paid time off to charity.