Offering time off for days that don’t fall neatly into “vacation” or “sick” policies has become a popular option to allow more flexibility with work/life balance. Personal days used to be the solution to this, but we found this practice is no longer a best option since personal days are generally not seen or treated differently from vacation days for payout purposes under state law.
These policies and practices should be reviewed by your legal counsel for the states and localities in which your employees are working to ensure compliance with applicable laws, and to ensure that your policies and practices are appropriate to your particular situation.
Here are some popular options:
Allowing employees to use floating holidays for specific events like birthdays or religious holidays can allow them to take time off without dipping into another PTO bank. This policy can require the floating holiday to be taken on a specific day or within a narrow timeline. Learn more about floating holidays here.
While there is no federal law requiring bereavement leave for employees, there are some states or localities that require employers to offer their employees paid or unpaid bereavement leave. Employers should be aware that the following states or localities mandate bereavement leave, and should ensure that they have a bereavement leave policy in compliance with relevant state or local laws: California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Bloomington (Minnesota), Oregon, Tacoma (Washington), and Washington state.
In states with no bereavement leave laws, you may choose to implement a bereavement leave policy that would provide employees with unpaid or paid time off for absences related to the death of a family member or close relative. You’ll want to consider what types of relationships are eligible under the policy, the number of days available under the policy, and whether those days are available per incident or per year.
Certain states have specific pay requirements for employers, but all states require that employees be allowed to take time off when called to serve on a jury, or in other similar scenarios. If you are subject to such laws or you choose to pay during jury duty obligations, you can create a policy to coordinate and track this.
Incentivizing employees to do good through a separate volunteer time policy will allow them to consider volunteer opportunities without having to sacrifice vacation days. This can have other positive effects on morale and team building.
Leaves of Absence
A leave of absence is a type of extended time off -- usually a week or more -- granted to employees under specific circumstances. Leaves of absence may be paid or unpaid, and may work with or separately from other types of time off.
There are some federal and state laws surrounding qualifying leaves of absence. The Family and Medical Leave Act, for example, applies to most medium-sized employers and covers a few common leave scenarios. Check out the Justworks Compliance Starter Guide for applicable state requirements and this State Family and Medical Leave Laws chart from Mineral*.
Even where applicable laws do not require paid or unpaid time off, employers may elect to develop and institute leave policies for purposes, such as parental leave, sabbatical leave, or personal leave.
Additional Leave of Absence Resources:
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This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.