Time Off By Any Other Name Is Just As Sweet

24 Jun

Employee Enjoying Personal Time OffFor the sake of simplicity and accounting purposes, some companies are choosing to do away with the “sick,” “personal” and “vacation” headings under which they categorize paid time off (PTO).

Proponents say it eases the burden of tracking hours and gives employees greater flexibility in how they use their days away from the office.

Some argue that employees’ perception of PTO and the way they use the allotted time may change for the worse if a company does not distinguish between sick day and a vacation day. Some may work even when they are sick to avoid cutting into “vacation time,” while others may end up increasing the amount of PTO they use.  Increased PTO usage could be an issue for some companies because they don’t truly understand just how much money sick leave costs them.

Whatever categories you choose to apply to PTO, if you notice a certain trend – such as employees not using all their sick days but consistently maxing out on on vacation time – you may want to consider reshuffling distribution or doing away with the designations altogether.   

Do you think it matters what a company calls paid time off?

2 Responses to “Time Off By Any Other Name Is Just As Sweet”

  1. Joseph Baird July 1, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    Suzanne, I wholeheartedly agree with you on the naming issue. What your days off are called doesn’t really affect the fact that you are allowed that number of days. Some employers that more rigidly define the reasons for taking a day off would have more trouble with this name change then others. I think in general as companies move towards a more employee friendly work environment more and more will begin to just call time off PTO. As you point out though, an employer does need to change the way they think about time off so they don’t discount their PTO when the name change happens. This is an interesting trend to watch…

  2. Suzanne KLaus June 27, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    I don’t think it matters what companies call the leave time – if it makes it more efficient for accounting purposes, they should change it to PTO. The one thing they need to be careful of is to not cut down on the leave time alloted to each employee. That would be the main concern I would have as I think some employers would be tempted to do that. There are many instances where it would be easier for employees when determining whether they should (or could) take a day off or not.