top of page

When the Pandemic Hits Your PTO Balances

For employees who are having a particularly challenging time due to the pandemic, taking a rest should be a necessity. However, not many staff members are taking or requesting days off this summer. Some find that it is not worth it to request and take precious accrued days to stay home when they may not have the option to travel or to properly relax.

What started as a temporary issue has become a bigger problem as businesses continue delaying the opening of their offices. With the end of the year looking to be the estimated “back to normal” return time, employees are asking Human Resources how they can carry over more days to next year.

As a result of this summer disruption and the continued stay-at-home scenario, PTO (Paid Time off) balances are sky rocketing. This trend is not only detrimental to employees’ wellbeing but also to organizations’ balance sheets and operations.

Various HR and Finance Teams are evaluating what type of policy they will implement to allow for the flexibility and accommodation that this situation requires, while ensuring staff welfare and a good continuation plan are in place. We lay down below some of the provisions that are being considered.

  • Most organizations are being understanding and allowing for special carry over rules this year. They may determine when those extra carry over days can be used, in order to limit added liability for the organization. E.g. allowing 5 extra vacation days to be carried over to 2021, but these days must be used in the first half of next year.

  • Another strategy that firms are taking is encouraging managers and HR to hold awareness sessions with staff about their work-life balance, risk of burnout, and encouraging employees to take time off.

  • There is also the one-time limited PTO cash-out approach, which would allow personnel to get paid for PTO if they don’t plan to use it this year. This setup may help staff who need the extra funds. It also ensures that there is proper coverage and business operations stay afloat if everyone decides to take the time off at the same time later this year. Something to keep in mind is that this tactic does not support employee’s need to recharge, which can lead to that imbalanced life we are trying to avoid.

Whichever strategy you decide to implement, it needs to be communicated well, and policies should be updated accordingly. Use your core values and culture to frame your decisions and tone. Moreover, seek feedback; ask different employees about the impact they think such a policy can have on morale, productivity, and their general health. It is also important to remain flexible; this unprecedented situation may evolve or expand and you should be able to revisit your plan along the way.

Reach out to your Kiwi Partners HR Advisor to strategize what may be the best solution for you and your team.

bottom of page