Time management


Learn how to encourage employees to take time off and implement a carryover policy effectively.

As uncertainty lingers, this is the year that carryover policies were made for. COVID has upended our day-to-day and forced us to re-examine what it means to take time off.

What is carryover? Unused time off that can be transferred from the current year into the new year.

At this point, vacation plans have likely turned to staycation plans and workloads have changed as companies adapt to a new way of doing business. What does this mean for time off in the rest of 2020?

Working From Home is No Vacation

As many continue to work remotely, less time in the office may already feel like you have some distance from work. Turns out this is not the case. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, we’re actually working longer hours at home—48.5 minutes longer every day. To top it off, people are also taking fewer vacation days (and less time off, in general).

According to a recent study by Robert Half

  • 37% of employees will save their summer time off in the hopes of being able to use it later this year
  • 28% will take fewer days off than last year
  • 20% will use PTO as mental health days (instead of actual vacation days)

So, what can come from this time off avoidance?

The Case for Time Off

Well, it looks like the effects are already surfacing. According to a July poll by Monster, 69% of workers are experiencing burnout symptoms while working from home during COVID-19.

This is exactly why time off is so important. Besides lower stress and lower rates of burnout, time away from your job is associated with higher job performance and improved creativity. These are powerful motivators for making sure employees engage with your time off policies and reap the PTO benefits.

Here are a few ways you can engage your employees with your time off policy in this unusual time:

  • Encourage employees to take time off before the end of the year. You can also encourage managers to book time off for their direct reports (or at least in consultation with them).
  • If employees are unwilling (or unable) to take time off and you have a carryover policy, remind them of it! This will give them reassurance that their PTO won’t disappear at the end of the year.
  • If you don’t already have one, now is the perfect time to implement a carryover policy so employees don’t lose time they could take at a later date.

PurelyHR makes policy enforcement seamless by automating carryover. Decide how much time can be carried over and when it should expire. Upload your written policy and share it with all of your employees with the click of a button. Start your free 21-day trial now!

Carryover Policy Essentials

If you’re setting up a carryover policy for the first time, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Set a limit of time to be carried over each year
  • Set an expiration date for any time carried over
  • Communicate your new policy clearly

Here at PurelyHR, our carryover policy allows for 5 days per year. Any days carried over have to be used within the next calendar year. Limits like these provide clarity and reduce policy abuse.

While carryover policies may be a fitting solution for this unprecedented time, ultimately, it’s always worth keeping an eye on your PTO policy engagement levels. It’s best to ensure people are taking and benefiting from time off while carryover is a helpful supplemental policy.

Do you have plans to implement a carryover policy before the end of the year? Are you seeing less time off requests during this time? We’d love to hear about your time off experience in the time of COVID. Leave a comment or find us on Twitter @purelyhrsoft.

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