By Leah Elms, Customer Service Representative

Tis the season for vacations. Whether they’re going on a spring break or a summer getaway, your employees will be planning and asking for time off. While there are many documented benefits to taking that break from work, it poses a few challenges for managers, as well. Here are some key areas that will assist you in navigating the curves on the road of PTO administration.

Know Your Policy

You need to be familiar with your company’s current protocol for acquiring vacation time as well as the spending of that time. There are many puzzle pieces to your company’s plan: mandated time off, accrual rates and caps, carry-over or use-it-or-lose-it, state mandates to pay out unused time and termination considerations — to name a few. Clear documentation and presentation of those policies to your staff help to prevent snags from the beginning. Companies may choose a traditional method such as specified amount of days as vacation days, sick days, and personal days. Others may use a combined PTO system; in essence, this is one large bucket which allows employees to use their time as they see fit. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages for both employer and employee. Both methods can be powerful recruiting and retention tools. If you have questions on which type is the best fit for your company, Servant HR is here to help you consider your options.

Manage Your Policy

Be sure you have clear, well-articulated guidelines for PTO use in place. Can you imagine if all your employees decided to take off the same week? What a nightmare! You need to think through how much notice will allow you to adequately fill the schedule in their absence. Requiring employees to request the time off in advance, with the exception of an emergency, alleviates this problem. An understanding of what constitutes an emergency must also be expressed. Does car trouble qualify? What about an attitude-adjustment day? How ill does a family member have to be? There will be instances when two employees request the same days off and there needs to be consideration for seniority, previous days off or the reason for the request.  Consistent managing and administration of your guidelines will play a key role in the overall satisfaction of your staff and their perception of your company’s plan.

Encourage Your Policy

Don’t let all these details scare you from encouraging your employees to take their well-deserved time off. Many studies show overworked employees are less productive and more prone to stress, exhaustion and illness. Clearly, both you and your co-workers benefit from a little rest and relaxation. Ensuring that it’s relaxing for all parties involved just takes some well-designed, managed policies.

So, take the time to evaluate your current plan. If it comes up lacking, the experts at Servant HR can assist you in implementing a policy that suits your company culture and then — go take a vacation!