You asked several questions about Paid Time Off (PTO) recently. So, as long as we’re still thinking about it . . . how about considering the best way to keep track of PTO use.
The answer: Unfortunately, too many companies who use PTO programs lose a lot of money to poor tracking of time off used. On average, employees take three unearned days per year – paid! Even if we give these employees the benefit of the doubt and assume those extra days are a result of careless tracking, rather than careful plotting, the cost to the company is the same. And it can be high. So here are a few tips to help you stay on top of PTO use:
Supervisors are your front line. Make sure supervisors are:
- Trained: Make sure they know how the PTO program works and what their role is in tracking their crew. Also, give them a good understanding of the company’s legal obligations to comply with the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). That includes how to process FMLA paperwork and how to determine if an employee is eligible for it.
- Consistent: We all know that some of your employees are organized and trustworthy, and some are a bit scattered and/or more likely to be “looking out for number one”. Supervisors must impose the same accounting expectations on ALL employees, regardless of their character or reputation. (If the more scrutinized employee falls into a protected class, the company could be exposed to otherwise avoidable legal troubles).
- Firm: Give those supervisors support and coaching for confidently correcting or confronting employees whose “miscalculations” or “oversights” are costing the company money.
Keep employees involved and accountable.
- Reporting: Employees should be required to notify their supervisor directly anytime they are using their PTO. If it’s for a day or part of a day, they should be required to call their supervisor as soon as they know they’ll need time off. That may mean calling in at least an hour before their shift. It may mean giving several days’ notice. That is up to the company to establish. But, once established, enforce this consistently. What is expected of one should be expected of all.
- Use it or lose it? For their own sanity, and for the sake of everyone else on the crew, encourage employees to use their banked time rather than rolling it over. They may be more likely to take the time they have accrued if you only allow a limited portion to be rolled over – or don’t allow rollover at all. If you do allow rollover, you may want to limit its use to certain times of the year.
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