When it’s used correctly, paid time off (PTO) is the type of benefit that prevents employees from burning out. Unfortunately, PTO abuse is an all-too-common occurrence for many employers.
And that can be costly.
Nearly $4,000 per worker
In fact, unplanned absenteeism can costs firms roughly $3,600 annually per hourly employee and up to $2,650 per year for every salaried staffer, according to a white paper by the workforce solution firm Circadian Technologies.
These are the costs associated with things like payroll issues and revenue from workers not being present.
And those numbers don’t even account for things like low employee morale and resentment from staffers who have to take on more work because of the absent employees.
Critical steps to take
Employers can prevent PTO abuse and unnecessary absenteeism by taking these key steps, recommended by the salary, benefits and comp research firm PayScale:
- Make sure your PTO policy is clear and highly visible. Like many things, employers’ best defense against PTO abuse is a clearly worded (i.e., jargon-free) policy that tells employees what is and isn’t OK. If it’s been awhile since you last reviewed your policy, you’ll want to do that in the near future. Also, it’s a good idea to have the policy displayed in a high traffic area — e.g., the employee breakroom — so workers are constantly reminded about it.
- Discipline offenders consistently. A strong PTO policy is all well and good, but it won’t help if employees know they can get away with not following it. To avoid this, make sure you’re prepared to enforce the disciplinary measures listed in the PTO policy. Also, the policy should state that discipline up to and including termination of employment can occur when employees fail to abide by the policy.
- Give all managers the ability to enforce your policy. Employees will often go to their direct supervisors for time-off requests. So all managers should have the power to take action if they notice anything is a bit off. In addition, you may also want to consider rewarding the staffers who never give you any attendance problems — e.g., any employees with less than X-unscheduled absences will receive an extra PTO at the end of the year.