8 Pros and Cons of Paid Time Off

Did you know that the average American worker loses at least 1 day of paid vacation every year just because they don’t use it? Paid time off is something that can benefit employers and employees if they are responsibly used. Of course employers have a short-term cost that must be paid in providing time off that is paid, but this cost is really an investment in their worker. If you’re thinking about making changes to your existing policies or are considering taking extra time for yourself, then here are the pros and cons of paid time off to consider carefully today.

What Are the Pros of Paid Time Off?

1. It allows people to reconnect with family and friends.
Professional responsibilities are something most employees take very seriously. They often come first, even before the needs of the family. By providing paid time off, workers have the chance to reconnect with family and friends without taking a financial penalty they might not be able to afford. It encourages people to decompress from the constant stress of the workplace.

2. It allows workers to handle emergency situations.
You never know when the school might call to say that an employee’s child is vomiting and needs to be picked up. Or if a traffic accident is going to happen during the morning commute. Or even if someone wants to go to the doctor with a friend because there’s a chance that a serious medical diagnosis could be coming and they want to provide support. Paid time off allows workers to handle emergency situations without taking a hit to the paycheck.

3. It attracts workers who are at the top of their game.
It’s true that you can always find someone who is willing to complete work for a cheaper price. It’s also true that skilled work isn’t always cheap work. If employers want to attract competent workers who want to stick around for more than a few months, they’re going to have to pay a higher price for those workers. Paid time off is one of those benefits that good workers expect to receive.

4. It allows people to stay productive.
There’s a difference between a worker who is busy and a worker who is productive. When people get bogged down and burnt out, they stop being productive. This doesn’t mean they won’t stop coming to work. It just means that employers aren’t going to get as much productivity out of those workers. Paid time off might have a short-term cost, but rested employees are more productive and this makes the long-term costs lower than if paid time off is not provided.

What Are the Cons of Paid Time Off?

1. It requires extra staffing to provide paid time off.
You’re stuck with one of two scenarios when employees are taking paid time off: everyone else has to pick up the slack or you’ve got to have employees on standby. Because not every employer offers extra staffing, some workers feel guilty about taking paid time off because it requires their co-workers to work harder. It becomes a benefit that really isn’t much of a benefit.

2. It costs money.
There’s no getting around the fact that paid time off means workers are being paid for not doing any work. If someone is taking two weeks off, that’s a potential full paycheck being sent out for zero work being accomplished. Unfortunately not every employer can afford this cost, especially in the small business arena, especially when the business is first getting started.

3. There are always workers who game the system.
There is always at least one person who always uses their paid sick time, holiday time, and vacation time whenever it is awarded. It’s like the paid time off is burning a hole in their pocket and they just have to spend it. You’ll also have people who pretend to be sick or just decide not to show up to work because they have vacation time that can be used. Policies and procedures can stop this gaming process somewhat, but it can never be 100% eliminated.

4. Paid time off is not a guarantee for rest.
Workers who take paid time off might be trying to rest, relax, or get well, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. They may come to work even more stressed out than when they left. It’s a Catch-22 because when workers do have a restful experience, it can take them a week or two to get back into a productive groove. All of this has hidden costs associated with it.

The pros and cons of paid time off show that in most circumstances, it is a good investment to make. It’s also a good decision to take this time off when you have it instead of letting it go to waste. In return, workers become more productive over the long-term and employers can secure the services of top talent to remain competitive.

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