As there is no common U.S. federal law on paid vacation days, leave time tracking procedure varies from company to company. Some prefer simple time-off tracking systems, others create multiple leave types and keep track of leave balances. The requirements depend on the company’s internal procedure, regional regulations, etc.
We conducted a research on how companies track absence of their employees. The results give an insight into what tools are used, what types of leave are taken, and how the overall amount of time off is calculated.
Most Used Leave Types
Typically, PTO hours cover everything from vacation to sick days and most commonly used leave types are:
- Sick Leave
- Parental Leave
- Personal Time
- Bereavement Leave (funeral leave)
- Leave of Absence
- Time in Lieu
- Family and Medical Leave
- Short-Term and Long-Term Disability
Regional differences in leave tracking trends are also remarkable, sometimes within the same company. Companies with offices around the world have different leave options for their employees in different countries and even in different states. For instance, in California, accrued vacation is considered to be a form of wages that employee had already earned. Thus, vacation cannot expire and unused balances must be paid out upon termination. In some states like Pennsylvania, employers are not required to give their employees any vacation benefits by formal legislation. Both paid and unpaid leave benefits rest upon companies’ internal policies and individual contracts with their employees.
Unusual Leave Types
Among the uncommon leave types, sabbatical leave is surprisingly frequent. Many employers now tend to realize that a longer leave than a standard one- or two-week vacation brings sustainable benefits for both employee and employer.
Jury duty days off affect PTO balances in the companies where active citizenship is welcomed. Introducing paid time-off for protests against Trump’s new visa policies is the recent Silicon Valley companies’ trend.
Military leaves are used in Switzerland, where basic military training can take up to 21 weeks, however, not only Swiss companies have a special leave type for that. There are also several American companies that keep track of their employees’ military leaves.
Some companies prefer to keep their PTO balances really simple: they only have one leave type called “Absent” or “Time-Off”. This might seem too vague, but the simplicity is the idea of the overall PTO balance: it is not important why you are absent today if you don’t exceed the amount of allowed days off.
Call-in well day is one of the most remarkable leave types in our research data. It seems to be a reference to Tom Robbins’ quote: why not take a day off without having to find a good excuse?
Absence Tracking Procedure
According to our research, most companies (90%) track leaves in timesheets where they record working time. The remaining 10% use special leave management software to keep track of employees’ absences.
83% of companies keep track of the paid time-off balance. Paid time-off is an overall bank of days or hours off that an employee can use. Companies can configure various leave types to affect the balance, depending on legal requirements and company’s procedures.
Depending on the policy, PTO days can be granted (given on the first day of work) or accrued. First case seems simpler, however in states where legislation requires the full pay out upon work termination, the employer will be obliged to pay the value of the entire year no matter when the employee leaves the company.
As we see, most companies prefer to keep track of their employees’ PTO balances, and to keep them simple. Mostly, only three leave types are used. However, some companies can have specific requirements that involve creation of many leave types affecting the resulting PTO balance. It is essential to track accrued and spent leave time accurately. An efficient way to do that is using special absence management tools. They help automate leave management and reduce time expenses for managing employees’ absences.