A majority (75 per cent) of U.S. organizations said the coronavirus pandemic has influenced how they approach absence management as a whole, according to a survey by Hub International Ltd.
The survey, which polled more than 500 small- and mid-sized employers, found about 40 per cent of respondents acknowledged their time-off policies need to be more attractive, while a quarter (25 per cent) said they provided additional paid time off in 2020 due to the pandemic and nearly 17 per cent plan to do so this year.
“Managing employee absences is challenging for employers in the best of times and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more complex with the sudden shift to remote work and the rapid proliferation of paid sick leave,” said Mingee Kim, Hub International’s senior vice-president and national practice leader of workforce absence management, in a press release.
While a quarter (25 per cent) of respondents said they offer paid parental leave, nearly half of that group require that employees take their paid parental leave within 12 months of the qualifying event and 25 per cent require that staff take the leave immediately once they qualify.
Last year also saw 14 per cent of respondents making changes to their paid-time-off programs related to diversity, equity and inclusion, including adding Juneteenth (five per cent) and election day (three per cent) as paid days’ off.
And half of employers surveyed said they manage sick, vacation and personal days separately, while the rest combine them into one bucket of paid time off. However, more than 50 per cent of all respondents treat part- and full-time employees and exempt and non-exempt workers the same. The number of paid-time-off days are typically prorated for part-time employees.
When tenure isn’t a factor, these companies offer employees an average of 8.2 sick days, 11 vacation days and 2.9 personal days or a bucket of 10.4 paid-time-off days for employees to use however they choose. Generally, respondents that structure paid-time-off days by tenure increase the number of days with an increase in tenure. And respondents reported they typically allow sick time, vacation days and paid time off to accrue.