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Survey: Corporate Practices for Paid Time Off




A WorldatWork research report, Paid Time Off Programs and Practices, highlights key benchmarks regarding paid-time-off (PTO) practices in the U.S. [Editor's note: the 2010 report is no longer accessible; the link has been updated to go to WorldatWork's 2019 report.]

“With the focus of the administration and Congress on expanding access to work-life benefits such as paid leave programs, our research report shows that employers recognize the competitive advantage of offering paid time off and believe in continuing these programs, even through the recession,” said Cara Welch, director of public policy for WorldatWork, a global HR association focused on compensation, benefits, work-life and integrated total rewards.

Among the key report findings:

A majority (70 percent of those with a PTO bank-type system and 60 percent of those with a traditional system) offer paid time off as a key employee benefit when attempting to attract new employees.

In a traditional system, 21 days (12 paid vacation plus nine sick days) are allocated on average for one to two years of service; 19 days in a PTO bank system.

Employers offer an average of nine paid holidays each year.

A vast majority of employers (all organizations with a PTO bank system and 87 percent with a traditional system) provide paid sick leave.

The average number of paid sick days in a traditional system is nine. PTO bank systems do not distinguish between vacation and sick time.

15 percent of participating organizations offer sabbatical leave programs (typically unpaid).

“Time is the new currency and employers remain committed to providing paid time off as a key employee benefit and reward,” said Lenny Sanicola, benefits practice leader for WorldatWork.

Data for the WorldatWork Paid Time Off Programs and Practices survey was gathered Feb. 17–March 5, 2010, among WorldatWork members employed in the HR, compensation and benefits departments of mostly large U.S. corporations. Of the 1,036 responses, 37 percent came from companies with 5,000 or more employees.

Stephen Miller is an online editor/manager for SHRM.


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