Time Is Running Out – So Take It!

The end of the year is fast approaching and it always seems that there are employees who have yet to request time off.  Some companies have “use it or lose it” policies and others allow employees to carry over all or some of the unused time. But don’t let the policy be the manager, as leaders of your organization, you need to think about the following:

  • Have your employees taken or scheduled their vacation?
  • Will employees have unused vacation at the end of the year for which they will want to be compensated in cash?
  • Can the company afford to cash out unused vacation?
  • Do you have a vacation carry-over policy and is the policy clear on how unused, earned vacation is handled?

Having employees with a unused vacation time at the end of the year is not an advantage to the business.  Quite the contrary.  If you don’t have a carry-over practice, employees will be disgruntled at the loss of time off.  If you do have a carry-over practice, then you as the employer will have to carry the financial expense onto the books for next year and your business operations will have to absorb even more time off in the daily operations.  It is better to proactively manage employee time off.

Now is a good time to take a look at what time employees have remaining and encourage employees to schedule and/or use their vacation to avoid an end-of-the year rush that may interfere with business operations.  Your encouragement will let your employees know that taking time off is important and that you care about them and their well-being.

I am a firm believer that vacations are for taking and that work-life balance is a benefit to the workplace.  Sure, there will be unusual circumstances that may cause an individual to miss or reschedule some or all vacation, but it should not be a regular occurrence.  If this is a regular occurrence, the management team must investigate and fix this problem.

Carryover can be a great way to allow flexibility for employees but as stated earlier, the employer carries the cost onto their books for the next year.  If an employee couldn’t squeeze in the two weeks this year and you make them feel good by allowing them to carry it over, how will they get the four weeks in next year?  The employer needs to be able to support a carry-over policy within the parameters of its business operations.  If carry-over becomes systemic it will, sooner or later, demotivate employees or you will find yourself issuing large lump sum checks.  In some states it is mandatory that employees be compensated.

Employers can support their employees by helping them plan to take time off.  Nothing is worse than getting to the end of the year with remaining vacation days and then being told that you can’t take them when you want.  Also some employees deliberately don’t use vacation if they can get a big payout at the end of the year.  This doesn’t support the practice of time off for work-life balance.  A little bit of organization, encouragement and management from their direct supervisor will keep the operations running smoothing and will assure all employees are getting the time off they deserve under the guidelines of your vacation policy.  Employers and managers will be rewarded with refreshed and invigorated teammates.

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