Personal Time Off (PTO) vs Vacation & Sick Time

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Personal Time Off (PTO) vs Vacation & Sick Time

Postby yoyowordup » Mon Nov 17, 2008 3:49 pm

We are reviewing our employee manual with regards to Vacation and Sick time allowed. I know that a lot of agencies have gone to PTO (personal time off) and I am considering changing our policy.

It seems that that is less animosity towards employees who feel entitled to Sick Time when most agency owners feel it should only be used as needed.

I would be very interested in hearing what other agencies do with regards to time off (ie how much do you get after how many years of service etc). I would also like to know how agency owners feel about it compared with how employees feel about it.

Any feedback would be helpful.

Thanks!!
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Re: Personal Time Off (PTO) vs Vacation & Sick Time

Postby LadyBroker » Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:50 am

PTO, in my opinion, is a much more fair way of giving time off. For employees who have children, or are often ill, it is more flexible for them. And for employees who aren't ill, then they get more vacation time, and aren't tempted as much to call in sick just so they don't lose the sick time.
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Re: Personal Time Off (PTO) vs Vacation & Sick Time

Postby Victoria860 » Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:15 pm

From an employee standpoint I prefer my vacation time be seperate from my sick time. I have worked under both programs and find PTO is not great. People tend to come into the office sick and contangious to save the PTO time for vacations. I also don't like the idea of PTO because if you are only out a few days with a flu or something as bad as strep throat if you aren't out long enough to make the transition to STD then you lose time. I don't like PTO, but it seems to be the waive of the future. I would prefer a program where I have set vacation time and a set number of sick days.
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Re: Personal Time Off (PTO) vs Vacation & Sick Time

Postby Shagster12 » Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:12 pm

I tend to agree with Ladybroker, as an employee and parent, I have found PTO a better option with more flexibility.
However, I also see the logic and sense of Victoria's opinion.
I'm sure solid arguments can be made each way, but my vote would go to the PTO. I just believe you get less deception from employees about the time off they take and as an employee I feel more comfortable taking a Personal Day for whatever reason be it Sick or Fun than trying to decide which I can more afford to use a sick day or a vacation day which needs to be pre-scheduled...
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Re: Personal Time Off (PTO) vs Vacation & Sick Time

Postby pita3333 » Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:28 pm

The key is SCHEDULDED versus unexpected! With split sick/vacation etc lets say a person has used up vacation time and only has sick time available and they need to take care of some personal business. Their only choice is to call in "sick" the morning of the day...which is then unexpected by owners/managers and co-workers. However under PTO they can schedule the day for this and everyone is able to plan ahead.

Also helps to have a cash out either at end of calendar year or fiscal year. If you have a "use or loose" policy then what ends up happening is that everyone suddenly is "sick" or asking for days off near end of period. If you are on a calendar basis...this would end up being right in middle of holidays and year end push for 1/1 renewals!

PTO is also a much easier system to admin..you don't need to differentiate between sick and vacation...just mark all as PTO.

As for Victoria’s comments...I can't believe that she/he actually truly understands PTO. Or perhaps her/his company has a hybrid plan and is calling it PTO. People come in sick because they are inconsiderate or because they do not like taking time off. It is just human nature. There is no down side to PTO (in my opinion).
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Re: Personal Time Off (PTO) vs Vacation & Sick Time

Postby LadyBroker » Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:30 pm

Something that I was just thinking about....when I used to work for a shop that had vacation and sick time separate, I ended up with so much unused sick time that I had to start taking it, or I would stop accruing it. So I had to pretend I was sick...now how silly is that? My boss knew what we were doing, but it still bothered me to be deceptive. Just give me a set number of total days every year, and I 'll figure it out.
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Re: Personal Time Off (PTO) vs Vacation & Sick Time

Postby yotes fan » Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:32 pm

well, if you are commision based, then you dont get time off! LOL
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Re: Personal Time Off (PTO) vs Vacation & Sick Time

Postby Victoria860 » Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:32 am

The only other thing I thought of was that when I worked somewhere that went from different vacation time from sick time to PTO, they used some calculation to figure out how many days to give everyone. So of course they did research and polled employees and when the final counts were made they determined to add 5 days for "sick time" because that's all employees took. So switching isn't that easy of task either because you have to make sure that the employees will get time that is equivalent to what they had before.
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Re: Personal Time Off (PTO) vs Vacation & Sick Time

Postby wlunday » Wed Nov 19, 2008 12:15 pm

I've owned an agency for almost 30 years, and have always used PTO for this. It is simple to administer. Here is how my agency employment agreement explains it...

"Paid Time Off

In lieu of “vacation” days, this agency provides employees with paid time off. After an employee works at least 1000 salaried hours he/she will be allowed 40 hours of paid time off each year. After the employee has accumulated 4000 salaried hours they will be allowed an additional 40 hours of paid time off annually. After 10,000 hours there will be an additional 40 hours annually, for a total of three weeks annually (120 hours). This benefit is to be used by the employee for sick days, personal days or vacations. Except for sick days, any time off needs to be scheduled in advance with an agency principal.

In addition, employees will receive their regular salary for the following nationally recognized holidays: New Year’s Day; President’s Day; Memorial Day; Independence Day; Labor Day; Thanksgiving Day and the following Friday; Christmas plus one day before or after, scheduled ahead."


I don't know if this is good or bad, but my staff seem to accept it just fine.

Swymmer
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Re: Personal Time Off (PTO) vs Vacation & Sick Time

Postby kevinraz » Wed Nov 19, 2008 2:31 pm

I much prefer PTO. No one has to lie or give a reason why they want the day off, you just say "I want the day off".

I was with Hartford for a number of years. As an underwriter I started with 19 PTO days, went up to 24 after 4 years. I could use them however I wanted but could not have more than 7 "unscheduled" PTO occurrences in a year. It was unscheduled if I did not give at least two days notice. This helped Hartford plan for employee abscences and was not that big a deal for me. I remember Hartford HR people saying that from their perspective they liked PTO as it made their jobs easier as well.

We could also buy another week of PTO which I did several times. That was very nice as it gave me a lot of flexibility when our kids were little. If anyone was sick or we needed something done I could handle it, not my wife who worked a job with much less vacation & sick time.

One year I used up quite a bit of my PTO being sick...the other years I had 4 weeks of vacation to use. Loved it!

Downside: can't carry over much PTO year to year. Many long term employees who had 29 days of PTO were often trying to burn it up during the last quarter of the year.
Kevin Rasmussen AU, CIC
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Re: Personal Time Off (PTO) vs Vacation & Sick Time

Postby Big Dog » Thu Nov 20, 2008 6:59 am

One thing to keep in mind is to make sure that, if you change from vacation/sick time to PTO, that it's equitable for all employees. Chances are that you have a number of employees that have accrued a large amount of unused sick time that they may lose with the conversion.

Additionally, if you offer, for example, two weeks of vacation and seven days of sick time to new employees, your PTO should at the very lease, match this.

One employer I worked for made the switch and purposely screwed over their employees by reducing the total number of PTO days (i.e. rather than 17 days total for sick/vacation as above, they changed it to 12 days PTO). A number of employees left because of that.
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Re: Personal Time Off (PTO) vs Vacation & Sick Time

Postby gregcw » Thu Nov 20, 2008 5:10 pm

Big Dog wrote:One employer I worked for made the switch and purposely screwed over their employees by reducing the total number of PTO days (i.e. rather than 17 days total for sick/vacation as above, they changed it to 12 days PTO). A number of employees left because of that.

I hate to say it but if he did it purposely he had it coming. My PPM reads; 1 week after one year, 2 weeks after two years, 3 weeks after four years, at 48 Hrs pay. i.e a bonus day for vacation. We also are flexible, which I think is the key, the vacation weeks (days) can be scheduled, one day at a time.

We have personal sick leave accruing at one day per month with a maximum of six days carrying over to subsequent years. I believe that this is fair and that the key elements here are that :
- 1. Everyone understands and does not abuse either system.
- 2. That the employee will not be penalized for being sick and that there is a potential reward for being well in the carry over (not being penalized for being well and being able to be extremely sick without losing excessive pay)

We also have the following holidays off:
Thanksgiving - 8 hours: Christmas Eve - 8 hours: Christmas Day - 8 hours: New Years Eve - 8 hours: New Years Day - 8 hours: Memorial Day - 8 hours: Fourth of July - 8 hours: Labor Day - 8 hours: Birthday - 4 hours:

In further being flexible, I had one employee whose husband worked for UPS with five weeks of vacation. She was able to schedule additional unpaid vacation to co-incide with his. Again being flexible is the key.
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Re: Personal Time Off (PTO) vs Vacation & Sick Time

Postby inscopywriter » Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:27 pm

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that our company probably has one of the best PTO policies around. I don't expect other companies to be this liberal, but I can tell you that people around here work really hard because of it.

From hire date to first anniversary, we accumulate 5.23 hours per pay if we're full time (17 days a year). If we're part time, we multiply that by the percentage under 40 hours we are, to get the lower number (5.23 x .75 = 3.29 if you work 30 hours a week). Years 1-4 give us 20 days a year, 5-14 is 25 days, and 15+ is 30 days.

Sounds like a lot, right? But what happens at the end of the year? It carries over. OK, but what if you hit a certain amount? Does it expire? Sure, it caps at 400 hours at 5 years of service or less, then 500 up to 15 years, then 600 over 15 years, and it never expires. Word around here is, if you actually hit any of those caps, they will force you to take some time off so you don't burn out.

We also get 6 paid holidays a year (Christmas, New Year's, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, and July 4th). If the holiday falls on a weekend, we get credited with 8 hours of PTO. We use our PTO for personal days, sick days, and vacation. We have to schedule vacation days ahead of time, but we can take as long as we want on vacation. A guy just took a month off to travel, because he'd saved his time for that. Can you imagine how relaxing that kind of freedom is? I'm serious when I say that the people at our agency work really hard, and it's because they know they can take a break when they need it. Everyone up to the CEO is under the same policy, and HR loves it because there are no questions asked and no one lies about being sick, etc.
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Re: Personal Time Off (PTO) vs Vacation & Sick Time

Postby scott » Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:59 pm

Give vacation time by some schedule based on position and time of service. Close on appropriate holidays.

"Sick time - If you are sick, stay home. If your kids are sick, stay home. (We hope your spouse/partner will pitch in too – we need you here!) If you can work at home, do so. If an illness keeps you out of work for more than 7 days, our short term disability insurance will step in and pay you. Your performance evaluations are based on the value you provide us. We need you here but understand that life gets in the way sometimes."

I guarantee that anyone who takes undue advantage of the above has other performance issues. Fire them. You want dedicated people working for you. Get rid of the deadwood. Your good people resent them and it impacts their performance and attitude.

Hire Slow / Fire Fast
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Re: Personal Time Off (PTO) vs Vacation & Sick Time

Postby elord27 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:53 am

I am at a company right now where we get PTO. I came from a company where i had 4 weeks vacation, 2 personal days, my birthday off, and 2 floating holidays (4 to choose from) AND 10 sick days (too many). I did not abuse them because that is how I am. I maybe took 2 or 3 days a year of sick time and most of that was for doctor's appts. NOW I am sick as a dog because everyone here is coming to work sick because they don't want to use their PTO for a sick day. Everyone starts with 11 days of PTO and views it as vacation time.

I guess I don't mind the PTO if I got a few extra days to make up for the sick days we don't get. I just think productivity here is at a snails pace because everyone is stopping to cough, blow their nose, run to get water, etc.

Just my two cents.

Signed,

A well person in a room full of sickies!
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