[Editor's note: This is the second part of a two-part column by the columnist. Read part one here.]
Last week we took a look at some of the considerations you should think about before implementing a paid-time-off policy at your company.
Here are some additional factors to keep in mind.
For example, a legal issue can arise if an employer has some type of absence control policy, such as the so-called no-fault attendance or progressive discipline.
Aside from whether such policies comply with the American with Disabilities Act or the Family Medical Legal Act law — that is, an employer cannot penalize absences that fall under their protective umbrellas — how is a PTO system going to interact with programs designed to reduce absenteeism by punishing employees if they miss too much work over a period of time?
If you are a high-volume, high-turnover employer, PTO may not make a lot of sense.
Likewise, under PTO an employer may not know when the employee’s absence qualifies for FMLA coverage and may end up failing to obtain the proper FMLA medical certification or the right to count the days already used as part of the 12-week FMLA entitlement.
Frankly, if your company already has trouble tracking FMLA absences, a PTO plan may only make the problem worse.
In addition, an employer must consider other policy issues. What kind of notice will be required to take PTO? An employer cannot allow employees to simply not show up without notifying their manager.
If you require that employees request PTO in advance except for emergencies, how will you define “emergency”? Or, do you even care, as you will be back to making judgment calls?
For example, is it an emergency if an employee wakes up Monday morning with a bad hangover?
Can employees use PTO in small blocks, such as hours, or are they required to take it in full days? What about unused PTO at the end of the year?
A use-it-or-lose-it policy might be too punitive, but an employer always could cap the amount that is rolled over or the total amount allowed.
Will you permit your employees to purchase additional PTO time, or allow your managers to award additional PTO through an incentive program or for other reasons?
These questions and considerations make it clear that PTO is not a magic bullet for all employers. But if drafted and implemented correctly, PTO can be an good substitute for traditional leave plans.