Use it or lose it: How to encourage employees to take their PTO before the year is up
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recently spoke with a few of its HR professional members about an issue few saw coming in 2020—the abundance of paid time off (PTO) employees would have leftover at the end of the year. Sounds like a first-world problem for sure, but these employees have earned their time off and have to use it or lose it, which could cause a real logjam when trying to schedule time off around the holidays at the end of the year.
In SHRM’s November 23, 2020, article, “Here’s How to Encourage Employees to Take PTO,” G&A's senior HR Advisor Tracy Winn, SHRM-SCP, says, “Some employees have taken limited or even no time off this year because they feel as though they are restricted with travel options."
Summer vacation plans in 2020 had to be postponed due to the pandemic and as fall and winter approached, the COVID-19 infection rate rose. That has caused people to cancel or continue to delay their travel plans for the year, which in turn has left them with more PTO than they know what to do with, the article explains.
Winn and other HR professionals offer a number of creative tactics team leaders can use to help their employees coordinate time off around the holidays. For example, Winn advises managers to encourage their employees to “take a long weekend, or even a day in the middle of the busy work week for a few weeks in a row to lighten their workload.” She also advises managers to lead by example and take their own available time off, too.
"When managers are intentional about making time for themselves during the day—blocking time to eat lunch, regularly scheduled personal development, being strict with their work and nonwork hours—their teams have followed suit," Winn says.