Are we living in a 'No-Vacation Nation'?

While PTO policies might vary, businesses should have an updated HRIS software system. That way, employees at all levels stay informed.

While PTO policies might vary, businesses should have an updated HRIS software system. That way, employees at all levels stay informed.

Vacation and time-off policies will vary from one organization to the next, with many businesses allowing employees to accrue more vacation days over time. Regardless of a company's specific policies on the matter, it is important to keep all team members up to date on what their requirements are and what needs to be done to request any time off.

When businesses have a current HRIS software system, it will be much easier to make this information available. Additionally, employees will likely have an easy outlet to use and find out how many vacation days they still have and can even request off a few days.

However, according to a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, out of 21 "rich countries"—16 European countries, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and the United States—the U.S. is the only one that does not require employers to provide paid vacation time. Calling America the "No-Vacation Nation," the survey also showed that only 35 percent of part-time workers in the U.S. have paid vacations while 91 percent of full-time employees did.

Different options for a different workforce

Even so, the Bureau of Labor Statistics had some positive findings in a recent study. For example, in 2012, 61 percent of employees had access to sick time, compared to just 50 percent in 1992-3. Additionally, 37 percent had access to personal leave, which was a stark increase from the 15 percent who had that opportunity in 1992-3.

Consolidated-leave plans—similar to paid-time-off (PTO) packages that put all forms of paid leave under one umbrella—are also becoming more popular, the BLS showed.

Robert Micera, adjunct professor at both SUNY Stony Brook and St. Joseph's College, told SHRM Online that paid-leave packages are a good option for companies to give to their employees. They can encourage workers to rely less on the occasional sick day as a means of staying out of the office.

"The trends seem to be [leaning] toward PTO," Micera said. "The reasons are to drive associates toward managing their time off to their desires and to decrease the number of unplanned absences that the employer has to deal with."

Once a company finds a PTO policy that is conducive to employee satisfaction and productivity, it is important to make all of the information available through HR software.