More companies are opting for paid time off plans for workers, combining vacation and personal days with sick leave, according to a new by the Society for Human Resource Management.
The society, which surveyed 518 human resource managers for its annual employee benefits update, found 52 percent of employers offer PTO days, up from 42 percent in 2009.
John Challenger of Chicago-based Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which tracks employment trends, said more companies will adopt PTO days because it benefits both employer and employee.
“It takes away all of the complexity of trying to sort out vacation days versus sick days versus personal days,” Challenger said of the benefit for companies, which could also reduce administrative costs, he said.
PTO days give employees more control over how they spend their time off, Challenger said. He said fewer workers are taking long vacations and are opting instead for long weekends.
Employees who seldom call in sick can have more time for vacation, and those who call in sick more often also can have more time, Challenger said. He also cautioned that sick employees still may opt to go into work to save their PTO days, jeopardizing the health of co-workers.
For those employers offering PTO plans, the Society for Human Resource Management survey found 19 percent are giving workers the option of cashing out their PTO days and 15 percent allow workers to donate PTO days to a pool that can benefit other workers looking for more time off.
Five percent of HR managers say their companies offer a vacation purchase plan, which allows employees to “buy” additional vacation days through payroll deduction.
A few other interesting findings in the 2013 SHRM survey, compared with 2009 results:
• Companies want workers to be healthy: 50 percent offer health screening programs, up from 38 percent.
• Eighty-nine percent offered mental health coverage, up from 80 percent.
• Fewer companies are offering pension plans: 19 percent now offer defined benefit plans, down from 29 percent.
• For employees who tire quickly, 6 percent offer on-site nap rooms, up from 4 percent.
• More companies are allowing employees to work from home: 58 percent offer telecommuting option, up from 51 percent.
• Seventy-two percent offer free coffee, down from 77 percent in 2011.
• Fewer companies are offering flu shots: 61 percent offer on-site flu vaccinations, down from 68 percent in 2010.
Also inside: Men who seek flexible work schedules may be penalized more severely than women, according to a study that looks at arrangements some companies offer. Living, D1