HR Management

Gee. Boss, I Used Up All My PTO, and Other HR Hassles


Paid-Time-Off (PTO) programs can greatly simplify your attendance programs, but they can also be complicated. Our expert tackles “spendthrift” employees, and we also preview two upcoming BLR audio conferences, on December 5 and 12, that could answer all your PTO questions.


What do you do with employees who use up all their PTO leave early in the year and then get sick? And how about those last-minute “I won’t be in today” e-mails—like the ones that arrive on the first day of hunting season?


These are just a few of the many PTO challenges that we’ll cover in two upcoming BLR audio conferences. Here’s what BLR panelist Aliza Herzberg, a partner at Olshan Grundman Frome Rosenzweig & Wolosky LLP in New York City and a presenter at our conferences, has to recommend about these key issues.


When Employees Exhaust Their Leave


What can employers do about employees who have used up all their PTO time and still need to be out?


The basic options are unpaid leave, some sort of medical leave, or termination, depending on the circumstance. (You could terminate employees and allow them to reapply when they are ready to come back to work, with COBRA continuing to offer medical coverage.)


Unpaid leave is the easy option, but, advises Herzberg, don’t let employees just take it whenever they don’t feel like coming to work. Doing so has repercussions on productivity, and long absences put unfair pressure on the people who have to pick up the slack, so morale will also suffer. The best practice is to consider extra leave requests on a case-by-case basis. (You should always look at the overall picture of how you are treating other employees. You want to be sure that you are not discriminating.)



Take control of PTO! A special BLR audio conference tells you how. Click here for information, to register, or if you can’t attend, to preorder a CD!



Last-Minute Leave


What about a person who repeatedly misses work without notice? Regular, predictable attendance is a reasonable expectation, Herzberg says. Also, leave needs to be planned so that the company can deal with productivity issues and so that the team doesn’t get stretched without warning. Those messages must be understood by employees.


Your training must get across the idea that PTO isn’t purely flexible; you can’t just take time whenever you want to. If someone is abusing PTO through a pattern of unplanned absences, handle the situation with counseling and discipline.



Don’t let PTO costs drive you into taking sick days! Register for BLR’s special audio conference here. Or if you can’t attend, preorder the CDs!



HR can help reduce the problems associated with last-minute leave. For example, if you are surprised by a rash of calls the first morning of hunting season (a situation many Midwest employers know well!), work with employees to figure out how to get notice earlier so that you can keep staffing reasonable during those times.


Similarly, if last-minute absences are due to children’s illnesses, see if there is a way to help out with an emergency childcare program.


Learn About PTO … Or Add to What You Already Know


Many HR managers have implemented successful PTO solutions after attending last year’s popular BLR audio conference, Managing PTO Programs Without Alienating Employees or Violating the Law. This year, we’re again presenting a new version of this basic conference, on December 5, and adding an advanced version on December 12. Both conferences are 90 minutes long and will include an extensive Q&A session to handle your specific e-mailed or phoned-in questions.


–The basic conference will teach you how to design a PTO program from scratch, introduce it into your workplace, and handle the transition from a standard time-off program. “This is the perfect foundation for HR professionals who want to learn more about starting and managing a PTO bank,” says the program’s expert presenter, attorney Brian M. Mumaugh, of the Colorado law firm of Holland & Hart.


–The advanced conference, led by attorney Herzberg, will tackle the key problems of operating a PTO bank … how to manage it legally in the face of the Family & Medical Leave Act, and how to harmonize it with multiple federal and state employee benefits and tax regulations. You’ll also learn what types of leave should never be included in a PTO bank.


If you are new to PTO, our experts recommend attending both conferences so that you get off on the right foot from the start. As always, these conferences enable you to train your whole staff for a single low fee. And if dissatisfied in any way, simply ask for a full refund. Your satisfaction is assured.



“PTO 101” … and “102”
Thinking of implementing a Paid-Time-Off (PTO) plan at your company? Or do you have one that’s running into unplanned absences or other problems? We’ve got two special BLR audio conferences … one basic, one advanced … to help you start and then run a PTO plan that works, productively and legally. Register for one or both, satisfaction assured. Can’t attend? Preorder the CDs! Click for info on the basic conference. Click for info on the advanced conference.



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