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  Time Off: Sample Policy for Time Off
Time off
Whatever Happened to Leisure Time?
Paid Time Off from Work  
Sample Policy for Time Off  
Military Leave  
Sample Policy for Time Off

So, would you recognize a generous time off policy if you saw one? If you had to establish a time off policy for your company, what questions would you ask?

The following is a checklist of questions that a good policy for paid time off should answer. It can be used as a starting point for a negotiation, or for a business seeking to establish or revise a policy for paid time off.

The Society for Human Resource Management, http://www.shrm.org, offers its members a model policy for paid time off that is comprehensive and a good framework for companies that do not have one.

A well-crafted policy for paid time off addresses the following issues.

Attendance

  • What is the purpose of the attendance policy?
  • What are the company's business hours?
  • What are the expectations of employees with regard to punctuality?
  • How long may an employee take for lunch?
  • What happens if an employee does not report for work and has not scheduled a leave?

Vacation leave

  • What is the company's philosophy on vacations? What is their purpose?
  • Which types of employees are eligible for paid vacation - full-time only, or other employees as well?
  • What is the procedure for requesting vacation time? Who must approve it?
  • How many vacation days do employees get?
  • How are vacation days accrued? When do they start being accrued?
  • How long must an employee be with the company before becoming eligible for a paid vacation? Are employees permitted to take unpaid leave before that time has passed? Who must approve an unpaid leave?
  • May employees borrow vacation time? Is there a waiting period before they may borrow vacation time? What is the procedure for doing so?
  • What happens to unused vacation time at the end of the year? If some days may be carried over, is there a maximum? Is that subject to approval by the supervisor?
  • What happens if a company holiday falls during a vacation?
  • Does vacation time accrue during a disability leave or a leave without pay?
  • What is the smallest unit of vacation pay? What constitutes a day or a half-day?
  • If an employee becomes eligible for vacation time after having been ineligible, when does the vacation time start to accrue?
  • What happens to vacation time when an employee leaves the company? What if the employee has only recently joined the company?
  • If vacation time is paid out when an employee leaves the company, is it at the same rate as the employee's salary?
  • What happens to borrowed vacation time when an employee leaves the company?

Personal time

  • What is the purpose of personal time?
  • What types of employees are eligible for personal time?
  • How much personal time may employees take?
  • What is the schedule for accruing personal time?
  • When does an employee begin accruing personal time?
  • Who must approve the use of personal days?
  • What happens to accrued, unused personal days when an employee leaves the company?

Holidays

  • What types of employees are eligible for paid company holidays?
  • When does an employee begin being eligible for paid holidays?
  • What holidays does the company observe? For convenience, the following are the holidays observed by the federal government of the United States.

Federal holidays
New Year's Day, January 1
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the third Monday in January
Washington's Birthday, the third Monday in February
Memorial Day, the last Monday in May
Independence Day, July 4
Labor Day, the first Monday in September
Columbus Day, the second Monday in October
Veterans Day, November 11
Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November
The day after Thanksgiving
Christmas Day, December 25
  • How are religious holidays treated?
  • When will employees learn of the holiday schedule for each year?
  • What happens when a holiday falls on a weekend?

Bereavement leave

  • What is the purpose of bereavement leave?
  • How many days of paid bereavement leave may an employee take?
  • Must these days be taken consecutively? Within what time period?
  • Are there exceptions to when the time may be taken?
  • Whose death represents an occasion for bereavement leave? How is "immediate family" defined?
  • What is the procedure for taking and recording bereavement leave? Does it require approval, or just notice?

Jury duty

  • What is the purpose of jury duty?
  • What procedure should an employee follow after being notified that he or she is required to serve, and at the end of service? What records should be kept?
  • Are employees paid during their leave for jury duty? At what rate? May employees keep the pay they receive from the courts for jury duty?
  • If the jury is excused, must the employee return to work that day?
  • What happens if jury duty falls at a time when the employee cannot be away from work?

Military leave

  • May employees who are members of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard, Reserves or Public Health Service take leave for military service, training, or related obligations?
  • Is this leave paid or unpaid?
  • What is the company policy for benefits while the employee is on leave?

Time off to vote

  • How will the company ensure that employees are able to exercise this civic responsibility?
  • What, if any, state regulations must the company comply with?
  • Will work schedules be changed to allow employees to go to the polls?
  • What types of elections are covered under this policy?
  • What is the policy for employees who live in another locality or state?
  • Will employees be penalized or retaliated against for requesting time off to vote?

Absence due to illness/sick leave

  • What is the purpose of sick leave?
  • Who is eligible for sick days?
  • How many sick days do employees get each year?
  • May an employee carry sick days over from one year to the next?
  • What happens to unused sick days at the end of the year?
  • What happens to unused sick days when an employee leaves the company?
  • What is the procedure for taking sick time? What happens if an employee is unable to notify the company personally?
  • What happens if an employee does not inform the company that he or she is ill?
  • May the company request documentation from a healthcare professional about the nature or length of an employee's illness or disability

- Erisa Ojimba, Certified Compensation Professional Modified 11-12-2004

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