If you’re an administrator or owner of a growing business you might find that as your business begins to scale and you take on more workers that you might want to formalize the process of taking time off by putting in place a time off policy.
By creating a clear time off policy you’re protecting both you and your employees and you’re helping your business run more smoothly.
Here at Bindle we’ve made the process of creating a time off policy really simple by building a free time off policy generator, made especially for small business owners in the United States.
This time off policy generator is specifically designed for businesses that want to put in place a type of policy whereby employees are entitled to take time off from a single bank of accrued time for whatever purposes they like, whether it be for vacation, sick leave, or to care for a family member who is ill, it doesn’t matter.
This is commonly known as a “PTO policy”.
Having a single bank of time to draw from reduces the burden of justifying the reason behind taking time off as all time off comes from the same allocation. So, be it for a doctor’s appointment, looking after a sick loved one, or an afternoon off because the surf is pumping, the reason becomes less important if the time off is coming from the one place.
One possible positive side-effect of implementing this type of policy is that it may reduce the total number of sick days taken, as it potentially reduces the feeling among staff that separate sick day balances have been earned and are therefore “owed”.
Some research suggests that while the administrative burden of implementing a PTO-type policy is lower than that of a traditional leave policy (where there are separate buckets of accrued time for each type of leave), staff members may have a harder time budgeting their PTO balances to ensure they have enough time remaining to take in case they fall ill, forcing them to come into work while sick, or to take blocks of unpaid time off1.
You also need to be aware that in some states such as California and New Jersey, your workplace may need maintain separate sick leave balances in order to more easily comply with minimum paid sick leave laws. You should check the laws that apply to you. Here’s a list from the NCSL that may help you.
If you do implement a PTO type policy, you will probably need an additional category of leave types that are separate from the PTO bank leave types. The policy generator we’ve created has clauses for unforeseen or “one-off” entitlements such as bereavement leave, voting leave, and jury duty.
Ok, so assuming you’ve got your heart set on implementing a PTO-type policy, let’s go through the PTO policy generator we’ve created here at Bindle.
Here’s a screenshot of what to expect…
You simply enter your details, click “Generate” and you’ll get a lovely customised PTO policy in the form of a Word document you can then hand out to all your people.
For free, you’ll get a PTO policy specifying things like:
How far in advance employees are required to notify you when they want to request time off.
How many days of PTO you offer. In the United States there are no Federal laws stating that you need to offer your employees paid time off so the amount you choose is up to you. Do be aware that some states require you to offer at least some paid sick leave, depending on the state.
Qualification periods (if any). You can specify a qualification period if you don’t want new-starters to be able to take PTO straight away.
Carryover amounts from year to year. You can specify whether or not you would like to allow all, some, or none of an employee’s left over PTO balance from year to year. This amount can be expressed in days, or as a percentage of the remaining balance. You’ll need to be mindful of the laws in your state if you’re specifying that your employees cannot carry over all of their balances into the next year. For example, in California because paid vacation is a form of wages, employers cannot take any part of an employee’s PTO balance from them.
The maximum amount of PTO your employees can accrue. You can choose to specify a cap on the amount of PTO your employees can accrue. This cap can be expressed as a number of days, or as a percentage of an employee’s annual allowance.
Whether or not employees are entitled to take off more time than they’ve earned (i.e. go into the negative with their PTO balance). It is sometimes a good idea to allow this situation, especially in the case where a worker falls ill and has no time off remaining. They may feel the need to come into work and this may lead to the illness spreading throughout your workplace, leading to even more time off. The consequences could be even worse if you’re in the food service industry, for example.
Holiday Schedule. The policy contains a table laying out which company wide holidays you want to observe.
Bereavement Leave. How much paid time-off each employee is entitled to in the event of the death or life threatening illness of an immediate family or household member.
What happens in the event that one of your employees needs time off in order to perform jury duty and how their rate of pay may be affected.
All this and more in our free PTO policy generator. Once you’ve generated your customised PTO policy, you’ll be able to further tweak it to perfectly match how you would like your policy work.
We’d love to help! ❤️