Employees Want Time Off, Not Praise
Employees experience life changing events on a daily basis. From a sick child to a death in the family, paid time off has become essential for employees to ensure there is no monetary burden when they are unable to go to work. In fact, many employees assess the entire benefits package to include paid time off and the option to work an alternative work schedule when accepting a position with a potential employer. In 2012 the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported approximately 40 percent of US workers did not receive pay when they took time off from work.
Although performance recognition is essential in motivating employees, time off is another significant motivator employees desire. More employers are discovering, although employees are concerned with benefits, culture of the organization, pay, career growth opportunities, and the reputation of the company, time off from work remains to be high on the list when it comes to what employees really want. A study conducted by Inspirato found of the top largest cities in the U.S. more than 10 percent of employees would prefer more time off in exchange for a monetary bonus. In addition to this, 10 percent would exchange the company’s 401(k) match for more paid vacation time. As a result, employers are recognizing the importance of an employee benefits package and how paid holidays and personal time off can greatly enhance the benefit package. More and more employers are developing comprehensive benefit packages consisting of alternative work schedule options, vacation, and other paid time off to attract and retain employees.
The Importance of Time Off Policies
Within various paid time off plans, a certain number of hours may be allocated to vacation, sick, holiday, bereavement, jury duty, and military training time off. Needless to say, the number of hours allocated to each time off bank can vary based upon the industry, employee classification, work status, and length of service. Did you know on average, full-time employees receive 8.1 days of paid vacation for 1 year of service and 11.9 days of paid vacation for 5 years of service? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics on average full time employees receive 7.6 paid holidays per year. The findings further suggests on average full-time employees receive approximately 8 days of paid sick time for 1 year of service and 9.5 days for 5 years of service.
More employers are even providing employees the option to work a condensed schedule resulting in a shorter work week. Flex schedules and even telecommuting have become some of the common alternative work options provided by employers to accommodate the needs of employees.
With the growing stressors employees experience on the job and in their personal lives, time off from work is essential to maintain a healthy work-life balance. It becomes a risk for both the employer and the employee when employees do not take time off from work. Employees can build excessive levels of stress and develop other unhealthy coping behaviors. Additionally, employers may have less productive employees due to the development of health problems and overall burnout. Many employees may feel obligated to be at work because there is work to do, fear of loss of pay, or the feeling of being penalized if they take time off. Employers must be effective in developing time off policies and reassuring employees it is ok to be away from work. As a result, human resource professionals and management are essential in ensuring businesses develop and implement effective policies, rewards systems, and benefit plan structures that positively impact employee motivation and enhances employee morale.