Sunday, January 19, 2020

Use It Or (Don’t) Lose It

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Use It Or (Don’t) Lose It

When it comes to paid time off (PTO), it’s usually “use-it-or-lose-it,” but that practice may be ending with some employers. It’s hard to imagine that at the end of the year, many employees haven’t used all of their PTO. But, in an article on the Washington Post’s website titled, “You may soon be able to exchange your extra vacation days for other perks,” nearly 60 percent of managers and more than half of non-managers said they didn’t use all of their time off. For employees in this situation, this means that they can either move some of their unused PTO into next year – if the company allows this – or they lose it and make a mental note to take more time off.

But what if an employee could actually do something with their unused PTO? What if an employee had options to turn their PTO into something of value? In that Washington Post article, a start-up company called PTO Exchange is making it possible for employees to trade in the unused PTO and turn it into perks such as contributions toward a 401(k) retirement plan or a health savings account, paying for college tuition, charitable donations, etc. In fact, a heartwarming request that PTO Exchange encountered that garnered serious interest is employees that want to donate some of their unused time to other employees who need it due to personal hardships such as funerals or treatment for an illness.

Of course, the goal of swapping PTO time for something else is not to encourage employees to constantly work and never take time off so that they can turn their unused PTO into a perk at the end of the year. The goal is to ensure an employee doesn’t feel “cheated” out of time off he or she has earned, but simply hasn’t been able to take. It’s this flexibility that employees appreciate, knowing that they won’t lose their accrued PTO.  One of the ways to deter an employee from not taking any vacation is that the PTO trade-in can only take place after the employee has used a certain amount.

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