Navigating Summer Vacations: Effective Balancing of Staff and PTO

Many small businesses struggle with balancing staffing needs and employees taking paid time off during the summer months. If too many workers take a break at the same time, it can disrupt business continuity. Balancing staff and PTO can be challenging if it's not handled properly. Let's look at some strategies and tips for ensuring employees get the vacation time they've earned, without disrupting business operations during the summer months.

Summer Vacations

Types of Paid Time Off (PTO)

The three most common PTO policies among companies in the US today are three different models. The policy you decide to use can impact employee vacation planning.

Accrued PTO

Under an accrued PTO model, employees earn vacation time based on the number of days they work in a calendar year. A common model is to offer four hours of vacation time for every bi-weekly pay period, which works out to 13 earned vacation days per calendar year.

Annual Allowance

Another option is offering salaried workers a fixed number of vacation days per year as part of their employment package. The average is 10 PTO days per calendar year, which does not include sick days or paid holidays.

Unlimited PTO

The unlimited PTO model is becoming increasingly popular for businesses. Under this model, employees can take as much time as needed. Studies have shown that employees working under an unlimited PTO plan usually take fewer vacation days than workers with accrued PTO or an annual allowance. This is because they want to avoid the perception of abusing the system.

Vacation Management Best Practices

Set Clear Expectations

Business owners should consider how they will handle the situation if they receive too many vacation requests at once. Certain policies can be implemented and communicated to employees to help avoid these situations.

Set early deadlines for employees to request PTO. Let employees know that if they don't submit a request before the deadline, you may be unable to accommodate them.

If you experience peak business activity at certain times of the year, such as around the holidays, you may want to implement a blackout period in which employees cannot take PTO. This ensures that you'll stay fully staffed when the business needs its employees the most. Another way to manage the balancing act of staff and PTO is to offer incentives for employees to take time off during non-peak business times.

Tell Employees: No Work During Vacations!

Your employees won't reap the benefits of PTO if they're still doing some work while on vacation. Both employers and employees are guilty of this. People tend to worry that the workplace will fall apart without them, and the next thing you know, they're taking calls and sending emails instead of relaxing in the sun. Communicate to employees that they are not expected to do any work during their vacation time.

Help Employees Feel Like They Deserve Their PTO

Keep in mind that some employees will avoid taking vacation time out of a sense of loyalty to the company. While this is a good sentiment, workers who become stressed or burned out because they're not taking PTO are not doing anyone favors.

Everyone needs time off work for their well-being. Remind employees that they've earned their PTO and deserve it. The company will still be there when they get back from the beach!

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Workforce Optimization with Workforce PayHub

Owners must properly balance the business's needs with employees' right to vacation time. Setting clear policies and expectations can help avoid a logjam of vacation requests that could damage business operations.

Ready to transform your PTO management this summer? Contact Workforce PayHub for a personalized consultation and see how our solutions can help balance your staffing needs seamlessly.


Eric Jones
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