Is Generic PTO Enough to Retain Employees?
Wish you had more paid time off? Well, according to a survey of 1,000 U.S. employees, conducted by YouGov/Huffington Post, a vast majority of Americans would like to trade in their long work hours for some personal time. In fact, 76 percent stated they would rather work four days per week if they did not have to sacrifice income. While 20 percent said they’d be willing to take a reasonable pay cut for an extra day off.
Currently, the average American worker is offered 15 days of vacation time per year. This is noticeably less than the annual paid time off for employees in Europe. Workers in France have 30 paid vacation days, Italian employees obtain 28 and the U.K. receives 26. The U.S. is also one of the few countries that does not mandate paid vacation days for employees.
American workers, especially those of the Millennial and Gen X demographics, are emphasizing their desire, and need, for an equal work/life balance. Employees want organizations to understand they have families and outside-office interests that inspire and motivate them. Workplace benefits are beginning to experience a noteworthy shift as the economy continues to improve and competition for employee retention increases.
In recent news, many of the world’s top companies are taking initiative to offer employees additional PTO days, appeasing their employee’s needs for work/life balance. These are a few examples of what some successful businesses are doing to meet their employee’s needs.
Paid Time Off for Charity Work
Encouraging the spirit of philanthropic acts and offering PTO for employees to work on projects that matter most to them is highly valuable, particularly for Millennials. Deloitte Consulting, a major international accounting and consulting firm, for example, offers unlimited PTO for employees who work on charitable projects. Nearly 40,000 Deloitte employees have done volunteer work and 28,000 employees from 80 offices participate in Impact Day, the company’s annual day of service.
Other companies like Novo Nordisk, a healthcare professional, offers employees 80 hours of PTO for charity work. The company has also executed a “Changing Our Community” program to help employees find opportunities for volunteering, increasing employee engagement and encouraging staff members to make a difference. Novo Nordisk will also contribute a monetary donation for every project submitted.
Maternity and Paternity Leave
According to the SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) survey, the percentage of companies currently offering paid maternity and paternity leave is at 21 percent; up from last year’s 12 percent. Industry leading companies like Netflix, Adobe and Microsoft have taken employees need for extended maternity and paternity leave into consideration and have made substantial changes.
Netflix now offers unlimited PTO for both mothers and fathers during the first year of their baby’s life. Employees can use that time as they choose by either returning as full- or -part-time throughout the year. Microsoft allows 12 paid weeks for fathers and 20 paid weeks, in addition to a 2 week short-term disability leave prior to the expected due date for mothers. After Netflix and Microsoft made its announcements, Adobe also declared it will be providing employees with 26 weeks of paid maternity leave and 16 weeks for paternity. The company has also increased their medical leave to 10 weeks and paid family care to four weeks.
In the past year company trips, both nationally and internationally, have increased and gained meaningful recognition from the public. In May, a China-based company sent more than 6,000 employees on a dream vacation to France, visiting top destinations Paris and Nice. The company organized hotels, bus tours, shopping sprees and other lavish events all to celebrate its 20th anniversary.
Another China-based company, Infinitus, recently sent a group of 12,700 workers to Thailand for a six night vacation. The company booked 110 flights and 400 coaches, bringing in nearly $17.89 million for Thailand’s tourism. While international travel is attractive to employees, other companies are taking smaller steps to offer workers assistance for travel experiences.
Airbnb, the world’s leading service for home rentals, gives employees up to $2,000 annually to assist in paying for vacation expenses. Other companies such as FullContact, gifts employees an additional $7,500 on top of their normal vacation pay and asks employees to completely disconnect from the office and enjoy their time off.