Paid time off is a progressive concept in human resources that involves consolidating sick days, vacation days and other personal leave days into single bank of days which employees can collect and use at their discretion. This study analyzes why paid leave is important to employees, and describes some of the paid leave options available to them. The global business perspective on workplace policy is also explored, along with the impacts to the U. S. workforce.
Finally, a personal opinion regarding fair and equitable treatment of employees is provided, illuminating the need for a global policy that guarantees paid leave for its workforce.
Employees Value Paid Time Off (PTO) Employees greatly value paid time off because it affords them greater quality of life. Instead of PTO programs, some employers adopt a leave policy that provides their workers a set number of vacation days and sick days per year. Such policies are more rigid compared to PTO programs.
For example, vacation days can only be used for vacation; and sick days can only be used if the employee is actually ill.
However, employees do not always use the leave judiciously; for example, they may take a sick day as a vacation day, arguing that their annual sick leave is not equivalent to the time they are actually sick. Employees prefer employers that offer PTO programs because it shows that the employer trusts its workers will not abuse the leave policy. Employees value PTO programs because it helps them more effectively balance work-life dynamics.
Employees are allowed to use their leave not only for vacation and or when they are sick, but also for personal reasons. For example, some workers may use their PTO to take an unexpected leave day so they can stay home and care for a sick child. Others may use a PTO-day to go to the doctor, pursue personal interests, run errands, or stay home just because they need some time away from the office. There are even some leave programs that give employees the option of “cashing out” some of their leave days, receiving payment in lieu of time off.
Business Cost of Paid Leave Paid leave time is a component of the overall benefits package employees consider when assessing a potential employer. Unfortunately, not all employers provide leave options and are not necessarily legally obligated to do so. A recent study on workplace policy revealed that 177 countries are mandated by law to provide guaranteed paid leave for employees; 157 of those countries guarantee a weekly day of rest as an added benefit (Heymann). Surprisingly, the United States is not one of these countries.
Researchers at Harvard and McGill Universities reveal that of the 15 countries ranked as most competitive in business by the World Economic Forum, the United States is the only one that does not have a legislative policy requiring paid leave for employees (Wonk Room). In this context, I feel that U. S. companies are not fair in their offerings for vacation, personal and sick time. Firstly, unlike the 177 other countries with policies governing paid leave for workers irrespective of the employer, U. S.
based employees are not all treated equally. Offerings for paid leave are determined by the employer. Individuals that do not even have the ability to take leave suffer from lowered morale, decreased productivity and diminished quality of life. There is no question that employees all over the world understand and value paid time off. The injustice is that not all employees have the option or luxury of paid time away from their place of work. References deMause, Neil. (2009, October 4). Swine Flu – and no paid sick leave.
CNNMoney. com, A Time Warner Company, Retrieved from http://money. cnn. com/2009/09/28/smallbusiness/swine_flu_vs_sick_leave/index. htm Heymann, Jody. (2010, May 6). If companies really mean business on work and family issues… The Huffington Post, Retrieved from http://www. huffingtonpost. com/dr-jody-heymann/if-companies-really-mean_b_566184. html Wonk Room. (n. d. ). CDC Suggests Workers Stay Home To Prevent Swine Flu. Retrieved from http://wonkroom. thinkprogress. org/2009/04/27/cdc-flu-leave/