Time Out: Make Sure Your Time-Off Policies are Clear, Appropriate
Wednesday, December 13, 2017 9:00 AM
'Tis the season for taking time off.
While providing a comprehensive benefits package (health insurance, professional development opportunities, time off, stock/buy-in options, etc.) is critical to the overall success of a practice, no single piece of the benefits package is more important than meeting the time-off needs of employees. Time-off misunderstandings can have a tremendous negative impact on employee morale.
Below are examples of important time-off verbiage/policies that can be adopted and/or customized, as necessary. The examples should be incorporated into a comprehensive practice policy and procedure manual and reviewed annually. It is important that these “benefits” be clearly written and articulated to all employees.
- Full-time employees will be paid for each of the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day (editor's note: many companies also include the day after Thanksgiving), and Christmas Day.
- Employees must work the business day preceding and following the holiday or have the office manager approve the absence to be paid for the holiday.
- There may be days throughout the year when the office is closed for a non-specific holiday. To be paid for this time out of the office, employees may wish to utilize a vacation day or personal time.
- Employees are granted the following days of vacation based upon their length of continuous active service to the practice: Years 1-4: 2 weeks (10 days); Years 5-9: 3 weeks (15 days); Years 10+: 4 weeks (20 days).
- An employee is eligible for vacation following three (3) months of employment.
- Vacation days may be taken in four-hour (4) increments at any time during the year with approval of the supervisor and/or office manager.
- In case of a conflict, the employee who submits the request for vacation time first will be given preference.
- The time desired for vacation should be submitted to the office manager in writing at least 30 days in advance.
- Since vacation provides a period of needed rest and recreation, each employee is expected to take his/her full-allotted vacation time during the year it is earned.
- Unused vacation time cannot be carried over into the next year. Unused vacation days will be lost, and no pay received.
- Vacation time will be kept on a calendar-year basis (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31).
- The office manager will record the status of vacation days for each employee. All questions concerning vacations should be directed to the office manager.
Personal Time Off
- An employee may use up to two and a half (2.5) days, or twenty (20) hours, for personal reasons per year.
- This time may be taken in hourly increments. Personal time off that exceeds the allowed amount will be treated as time off without pay.
- An employee may not use overtime as personal time off.
- Personal time off should be requested and approved three (3) days in advance. The supervisor and/or office manager must give approval.
- Unused personal time off will be reimbursed at the end of the calendar year.
- Personal time off cannot be carried over to the next year.
- An employee is eligible for sick leave with pay after three (3) months continuous employment.
- Six (6) days of sick leave with pay are accrued each year and may be used in four-hour (4) increments.
- Sick time that exceeds the allotted amount will be treated as time off without pay. Extra time off is not granted for illness during vacation or holiday.
- A maximum of three (3) days of unused sick leave can be carried over to the next year.
- In case of absence due to illness, employees will notify their immediate supervisor or the office manager as soon as possible. Do not leave a message with a fellow employee. The office manager will record the status of sick leave for each employee.
Show You Care
Time off is important to employees. Creating and following written time-off policies and procedures ensures that all parties understand the meaning of “time off.” Taking appropriate time to focus on time-off issues sends a clear message that you care about your employees both in and away from the office.