As we approach summer, this month’s blog focuses on vacation. We are sharing relevant articles from both employer and employee perspectives on vacation policies. These articles explore traditional vacation and unlimited vacation programs.
Employee Vacations Are Good for Business
- Employees aren’t the only ones who can benefit from taking a vacation. Businesses that urge workers to take time off to relax, recuperate and recharge typically have lower health care, workers’ compensation and turnover costs, and they benefit from higher productivity and employee engagement levels.
- Most U.S. workers don’t take full advantage of paid-time-off benefits. The negative effects of overworked and burned-out employees can kick businesses right in their bottom line.
- Healthy Organizations: The paybacks to companies include enhanced innovation, improved productivity and reduced health care costs.
- A Boost to Camaraderie: Improvements in teamwork and employee camaraderie are benefits employers should consider when urging workers to take time off.
- Ways to Encourage: Good communication is key when encouraging employees to use paid-time-off benefits. Employers that build this into their culture make a tremendous leaps forward in becoming a healthy enterprise.
- Planning for Time Off: Research shows companies with policies urging workers to take vacation tend to have lower unscheduled absences. Planning time off also assists leaders and teams with workload scheduling.
Vacation Policy Trends in America, the ‘No-Vacation’ Nation
- The U.S. comes in last place when comparing the number of vacation days provided to workers in the top 21 OECD countries.
- In addition to a handful of national holidays, the typical American worker gets two or three weeks off out of the entire year for vacation.
- With faster growing part-time and contract jobs versus full-time jobs, government figures show that about 25% of American workers don’t earn vacation benefits.
- U.S. employers look at paid vacation as a benefit to employees but it adds cost to the company which is a consideration when developing benefit programs.
- The amount of vacation provided to the average U.S. worker hasn’t changed much in the last several decades, the way vacation is earned and administered has been changing throughout the years. Many companies have eliminated traditional paid leave and replaced it with a PTO bank.
- Finally, another type of vacation benefit that’s beginning to grow, especially in legal, accounting and management consultancy groups is an unlimited vacation program.
Unused Vacation Days Can Be Detrimental
- At organizations offering paid-vacation plans, most full-time employees have sufficient tenure to accrue from six to 20 vacation days annually.
- Among organizations with a limited rollover policy, 56 percent allow 1-10 vacation days to be rolled over annually.
- Many employees fail to take all their leisure days, which can negatively affect performance and morale. Fewer, although still a majority (70 percent), believe that taking vacation is “extremely” or “very important” for inspiring creativity.
- If employees are not taking vacation days, leaders should find out the reason.
- Decision makers should make sure the vacation policy fits with the organization’s culture and that the policy is being communicated and applied accurately and fairly throughout the company.
- Managers and leaders should encourage employees to take vacation and ensure that workers do not think there is a stigma associated with requesting leisure time.
The Limits of Unlimited Vacation
- Few companies (1 in 100) offer unlimited vacation. Leaders at those organizations say the plan works well. However, it is not right for every company.
- Pros: The pressure to plan and save days is eliminated for workers, while employers are freed from the administrative hassle of tracking time off and the financial burden of paying out unused vacation time.
- Cons: If employees are told no more set vacation or holidays and they are to work with their manager to determine time off, they may view it skeptically if they don’t trust management to be fair.
- Workers and senior managers claim to understand the importance of paid time off, but when it comes to actually taking the time, both are reluctant. The typical U.S. employee with paid vacation time took just a little more than half of his or her allowed time off in the previous 12 months.
- In the end, people who shy away from using vacation time will likely do so whether or not it’s a guaranteed benefit. It may take a larger shake-up to convince Americans they deserve a break.
- Successfully implementing unlimited vacation policies comes down to culture and a standard mutual trust — where both worker and employer trust each other not to abuse the system.
- Further, workers with unlimited vacation need to take responsibility for their own schedules and get what they need out of the bargain.
8 Things to Ask Your Employees Before They Leave for Vacation
- Summer vacations are a great time for employees to relax and recharge. However, it does leave teams in the office short staffed.
- Eight founders from Young Entrepreneur Council were asked “What is the one thing you expect all your staff members to do before leaving for summer vacation?”
– Update all content and information.
– Delegate everything.
– Report on current projects.
– Talk about their deliverables.
– Transition their workload.
– Tidy their desk.
– Document their systems.
– Cover their bases.
It is clear that vacation is an important asset to employers and employees alike. Different policies work better for different companies. We believe work environment, managers and employees all play a vital role in determining the success of a vacation policy. If you are an employer, how do you relate to these articles? If an employee, do you agree or disagree with the arguments made? Please send us your feedback, Energy News & Views looks forward to your blog responses.