Some U.S. companies are offering additional paid time off for special circumstances, which might help employees maintain their work/life balance, according to Compdata Surveys' Benefits USA 2011/2012 report.
“Emphasis on creating a work/life balance has been an increasingly important issue for employees for several years,” said Amy Kaminski, director of marketing for Compdata Surveys. “While some companies have responded by offering flexible schedules and telecommuting, it will be interesting to see how paid-time-off programs are affected as well, particularly as women in the workforce are waiting longer to start families and more households are becoming responsible for the care of an aging relative.”
The survey of nearly 4,500 benefit plans covering over 6 million employees across the U.S. revealed that, in addition to vacation days and sick days, employers offered paid time off for:
• Death in the family (33.3 percent of employers). Employees are granted an average of 3.4 days off.
• Jury duty (33 percent).
• Military leave (17.2 percent).
• Maternity leave, paternity leave and adoption leave (8.6 percent).
• Family illness (5.1 percent).
Military Leave Variations
The number of paid days off an employee in the U.S. might receive varies by region. For example:
• In the Southeast, an average of 83.2 paid days off was granted for military leave.
• In the Midwest, 76 paid days.
• In the West, 71.4 paid days.
• In the South Central region, 65.8 paid days.
• In the Northeast, 53.6 paid days.
Overall, 62 percent of U.S. organizations reported no limit on the number of paid military leave days for which employees are eligible.
In addition, the survey revealed that:
• Leave assistance programs were in place at 24 percent of surveyed organizations to assist employees who have exhausted their paid leave.
• Leave bank programs allow employees to pool unused, accrued time off into a bank to be drawn on by employees who need it. Leave bank programs were offered by 6.8 percent of companies surveyed.
• Leave transfer programs, which allow employees to transfer unused paid time off directly to another employee, were used by 5.5 percent of companies surveyed.
Stephen Miller, CEBS, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
Managing Military Leave and Military Family Leave, SHRM Toolkits, April 2012
PTO Banks Reduce Unscheduled Absences; Employers See Hurdles, SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, December 2007
Paid Time Off: Giving Employees More Control Over Leave, SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, November 2006
SHRM Online Benefits Discipline
SHRM Online Workplace Flexibility Resource Page