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How to Avoid the Holiday PTO Trap

Did you know that in 2013 Americans collectively lost 169 million days of PTO? Too often, employees do not end up using their holiday time so they end up losing it or they are forced to use all in December. For companies who slow down at the end of the year this may not be a problem, but for companies who stay busy in December, this could pose a major threat to their business operations and the company’s bottom line.

As a manger, here are 4 things you can do to avoid the Holiday PTO Trap:

1. Encourage your employees to use their PTO earlier.

There are many ways to go about doing this, but it starts with your company culture. Using your PTO should be seen as a positive thing and be encouraged from management, this is because well-rested employees are not only happier at work, they are more productive. Improving communications and coordinating vacation calendars is always a good starting point. Beyond that, it is important to encourage the cross-training of your employees and create a more resilient workforce so an employee’s temporary absence can be managed smoothly.

2. Change your PTO policy.

If it continues to be a problem every December, you can consider switching your PTO to expire on June 30th or another time that is slow for your company. Many companies also use the employee’s date of hire instead of year-end.

3. Ask for PTO Volunteers.

If your company is experiencing a slow period, ask for volunteers to use their PTO time. This will improve efficiency and show that you are encouraging of using PTO.

4. Require Leave Notice.

Require that employees give you at least two-four weeks notice before using their annual leave. Be strict. With advance notice, you will have time to sort out scheduling conflicts or encourage the employee to take leave at a less busy time.

Focus HR can help you develop a sustainable PTO policy and we are happy to track all PTO balances for our payroll clients. If you have questions or need advice, give us a call at 520-721-6777.

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