With recent unemployment rates reaching historic lows, employers are in fierce competition for talent. To attract and retain qualified workers, companies of all sizes are bolstering their employee benefit offerings. In recent years, the concept of employee time off has been transforming as businesses respond to changing employee needs and expectations.

4 Evolving Trends to be Aware of Regarding Employee Time Off:

  • Growing use of general paid time off (PTO) policies.
    Employers have increasingly begun favoring the use of single, consolidated PTO policies as opposed to differentiating between vacation and sick time. Employers have been drawn to the many benefits of these consolidated policies, reporting that they are easier to administer, result in fewer unscheduled absences, and alleviate the burden from employees who felt pressured to prove that they were ill when taking time off under sick leave policies.
  • Greater flexibility with time off policies.
    Traditionally, many organizations have offered employees two weeks of paid vacation—which would increase the longer they stayed with the company—as well as predetermined holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. However, in recognition of an increasingly diverse workforce, some employers are now offering “floating holidays,” which give employees the opportunity to take their paid holidays when they choose.
  • More paid time off for new employees.
    As Baby Boomers continue to retire in droves, their younger counterparts are defining new rules, trends, and expectations for the workplace. One trend that has become associated with Millennial and Generation Z employees is a tendency to “job hop.” With these workers only remaining in positions for an average of 18 to 36 months, employers are realizing that they need to be more generous with vacation time or general PTO for new hires if they wish to attract top talent from these younger generations. Therefore, many organizations are now offering a bank of fifteen or more paid days off for employees as soon as they are hired.
  • Mandatory Time Off.
    In a twist of irony, as many businesses are becoming more generous in offering paid time off, a growing percentage of employees are not using all of their vacation days. While an unused vacation may not seem problematic for organizations, many employers find that employees who take time away from work and truly “unplug” from their job responsibilities will actually return feeling more focused and productive. As a result, some businesses are requiring employees to take a certain amount of time away from the office each year.