HR Management & Compliance

More Results from the 2015 Employee Leave Survey

The results of our 2015 Employee Leave Survey are in and reveal that 99.4% of participants offer some form of time off to employees (marginally up from 98.9% in 2014). Here are a few more highlights of the survey:

Personal Leave

Sometimes called small necessities leave, personal days are offered by 29.7% (30% in both 2014 and 2013) of our survey participants, with 70.4% (65.8% last year) of them offering 1 to 3 days annually and 16.7% (18.9% in 2014) offering 4 to 5 days.

Bereavement Leave

Time off for a funeral is provided by 88.6% of survey participants, with 1–3 days the rule for 79.5% and 4–5 days for 18.9%. Bereavement for a spouse, child, or parent is available for 99% (same as 2014 and 2013) of those who offer bereavement leave as a benefit. Brother and sister are included for 96.7%. Grandparents are included for 88.7%, and grandchild is included for 80.9%. Stepparent and stepchild are included for 77% and 78.6%, respectively.

Bereavement leave for the death of an employee’s mother-in-law or father-in-law is available for 82.5% and 82.4%, respectively. Leave for the funeral of a brother- or sister-in-law, though, is available for 60.8%. Extended family members are included for 26.1%, and exes (5.8%) and their family members (4.7%) are also available.

Military Leave

Employees on military leave receive their full pay in addition to any military pay they receive for 17.6% (16.1% in 2014, 13.5% in 2013, and 11.5% in 2012) of the participants who responded to this question in our survey. The difference between full pay and military pay is available for 39.7% (35.4% in 2014, 35.5% in 2013, and 19% in 2012), and 3.9% (3.9% in 2014, 2.8% in 2013, and 1.5% in 2012) offer partial pay in addition to employees’ military pay. No paid military leave is available for 45.1% (43.7% in 2014, 40.9% in 2013, and 53% in 2012).

Jury Duty

Of the 87.5% of survey participants who provide PTO for jury duty, 34.9% indicate they do for a limited time, and 24.4% offer unlimited paid time to serve on a jury. Another 28.3% indicate they provide PTO for jury duty because it’s a legal requirement. When asked about their policy on jury duty, 47.3% (47.2% in 2014 and 45.8% in 2013) offer full pay less any jury duty pay employees receive from the court system, and 46.2% (44.7% last year and 43.6% in 2013) provide full pay in addition to any pay employees receive from the court.

Handle FMLA like a pro! Start on Monday, November 16, 2015, with a new interactive webinar—Beyond FMLA Basics: How to Handle Complex Tracking and Other Employee Leave Challenges. Learn More

Time Off for Voting

Legal compliance is the impetus for 23.7% of survey respondents to provide PTO for voting, while another 16.8% provide PTO to vote even though it’s not a legal requirement. Unpaid time off to vote, however, is offered by 37.7%, and 21.8% (down from 24.4% last year) require employees to vote outside their business hours.

Leave Practices

Employees are required to notify their supervisor when requesting to use sick, vacation, PTO, or personal time for 74.1%, their manager for 37.9%, and a higher level in the chain of command for 5.2%. Notifying human resources is a requirement for 17.7%.

Employees in exempt management-level positions are required to monitor and respond to e-mail messages while on leave for 21.7%, while only 14.2% require certain exempt positions to monitor e-mail. Such monitoring is a requirement of all exempt employees for 4.9%. Though only 3.6% require it of employees in nonexempt positions, a hefty 30% don’t require nonexempt employees to monitor e-mail but acknowledge that it happens, and 20.5% suspect that it happens.

Only 34.8% indicate they allow employees to use paid time before it’s accrued, resulting in a negative accrual balance.

When asked whether they deduct from exempt employees’ accrued leave to cover partial-day absences, 38.6% indicate they do not. For 16.4%, however, the answer was yes, with the amount of time depending on the situation. Deductions in half-day increments are made for 21.3%, and 9.3% deduct in hourly increments. Half-hour deductions are allowed for 6.2%, and 8.3% deduct quarter hours.

Leftover Leave

Use it or lose it is the rule of thumb for 19.6% (18.7% in 2014 and 18.5% in 2013), and though they can’t roll it over, 4.2% (3.8% in 2014 and 3.3% in 2013) reimburse employees for all or part of their unused paid leave. Rollover of all or a portion of unused paid leave time from one year to the next, however, is an option for 79.2% (77.5% in 2014 and 70.8% in 2013) of survey respondents.

For 28.1%, employees can roll over more than 121 hours of accrued vacation time, and 7.8% allow 81–120 hours to be rolled over. The number of PTO hours that employees are allowed to roll over is a little different, with 21.7% allowing more than 121 hours and 6.5% allowing rollover of 81–120 hours.

While 29.2% of survey participants allow some degree of leave sharing or donating, no sharing paid leave between employees is the rule for 54.2%, and the issue has never been addressed by 16.6%.

When asked which types of leave survey respondents pay out to employees when they leave the company, 59.5% pay for vacation, 9.3% pay out sick time, 36.1% pay out any unused PTO, and 9.8% don’t pay cash for unused paid leave. With some limitations, 30% allow employees to “cash in” accrued but unused paid leave at the end of the year, and 11.6% allow “cash in” with no limitation.


State or federal family medical leave is a requirement for 75.5% of survey participants who answered the question. For 84.5%, employees are required to notify HR when requesting FMLA leave, and 53.6% also require employees to notify their management team. When it comes to use of intermittent FMLA leave, however, 75.7% require notification to HR, and 65% require employees to notify their management. HR is responsible for tracking FMLA at 79.2%, and supervisors or managers are responsible at 4.9%.

Using accrued paid leave when on FMLA leave is required by 75.9%, and 64.6% require employees to use FMLA leave concurrent with workers’ compensation when it’s applicable.


When asked to indicate their top challenges regarding employee leave, scheduling workloads around employee leave topped the list at 51.4% (49.8% in 2014 and 47% in 2013). Abuse of leave at 37.1% (36.5% in 2014 and 37.7% in 2013) and recordkeeping and/or tracking leave at 36.1% (37% in 2014 and 38.9% in 2013) came in second and third, respectively. Consistent application of leave policies came in fourth at 29.8% (33.5% in 2014 and 27.1% in 2013), and FMLA intermittent leave came in fifth at 29.2% (33.5% in 2014 and 33.2% in 2013). Rounding out the list are:

Concurrent leave: Overlap of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), FMLA, and workers’ comp, 22.5%
Compliance with the various leave laws, 22.0%
Return-to-work issues, 18.5%
ADA accommodation, 15.2%
FMLA: Verifying serious health condition, 9.4%
Concurrent leave: Overlap of company paid leave and legally required leave, 6.9%
Other, 3.4%
FMLA: Military leave, 1.2%

Employee leave is just the beginning when it comes to understanding all of the regulations that come into play. FMLA, for example, is one of the most complicated federal laws for HR to navigate, and knowing the basics only gets you so far. Fortunately there’s timely help in the form of BLR’s new webinar—Beyond FMLA Basics: How to Handle Complex Tracking and Other Employee Leave Challenges. In just 90 minutes, on Monday, November 16, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the more complex side of FMLA.

Register today for this interactive webinar.

FMLA regulations making your life a nightmare? Join us Monday, November 16, 2015, for a new interactive webinar, Beyond FMLA Basics: How to Handle Complex Tracking and Other Employee Leave Challenges. Earn 1.5 hours in HRCI Recertification Credit and 1.5 hours in SHRM Professional Development Credit. Register Now

By participating in this interactive webinar, you’ll learn:

  • Policies and procedures your organization should have in place to track and manage FMLA leave
  • What to tell frontline supervisors and managers about FMLA leave
  • How to calculate and manage intermittent and reduced schedule leave taken by employees who routinely work a flexible schedule, part-time, or overtime
  • How to apply a minimum increment of leave—and protect against tracking errors
  • How to manage employees who are taking intermittent leave
  • When to count paid holidays as FMLA leave
  • Tips for calculating leave for light-duty assignments
  • And much more!

Register now for this event risk-free.

Monday, November 16, 2015
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Join us on Monday, November 16, 2015—you’ll get the in-depth Beyond FMLA Basics: How to Handle Complex Tracking and Other Employee Leave Challenges webinar AND you’ll get all of your particular questions answered by our experts.

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