A new calendar year typically sparks employee policy reviews for small businesses across the nation. Your employees are likely to have spent the holidays exhausting their remaining paid time off, creating issues with staffing and resourcing. Reacting by being too picky about your PTO or paid sick day policy can be disappointing to existing or future staff members and employees.
It appears that more and more employees want more flexibility and tend to avoid employers who appear to undervalue their employees. The policy you adopt regarding a paid sick day or time off for your staff can make a difference in balancing the culture in the workplace and productivity.
Legislation and Compliance
In today’s environment, there are very few Federal laws that govern employee sick days, however, many cities and states are beginning to enact legislation they feel is needed to ensure employees in their jurisdiction have paid sick leave. In fact, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families, there are currently 37 jurisdictions that have enacted paid sick day laws for employees or will soon ratify them. Also, the Department of Labor promulgated rules regarding paid sick days for federal employees as well.
The bottom line for U.S. businesses is that there can be legal consequences for not making paid sick time available to employees. Here is where small businesses can rely on their PEO partnership to make known any stipulations and possible legal admonitions when establishing or amending a paid sick day policy.
The Changing Culture
Certainly, there are many important reasons to offer employees paid sick leave beyond just complying with regulations. Most all employees strongly value the idea of not being financially penalized when they need to miss work to recover from an illness. Any business owner that neglects this is at risk of lowering morale, especially if the policy is reduced or removed. Additionally, if employees are forced to come into work while ill, their production will be greatly affected and the chances of other employees getting sick will be a typical result.
Some business owners and executives may be reluctant to increase or even install a paid sick day policy for financial reasons, and many believe that employees will use paid sick leave whether they are sick or not. Employers are aware of this and it can actually lead to creating an environment of distrust and resentment.
The bottom line for employers who want to lower their rate of turnover and increase their retention is that employees consider paid time off as part of the total compensation package. To remain competitive in the marketplace, employers should consult with the HR experts at their professional employer organization for guidance and advice.
Establishing Your Paid Sick Day Policy
Most young employees typically value an established paid sick day framework and prefer to have a clear, well-written policy to rely on. Having a clear policy makes the entire process better organized and easier to manage. Managers and team leaders should make certain to present the paid sick day policy while onboarding new employees unless the PEO has taken on these responsibilities.
Helping new employees understand the effect their absence has on the organization, especially if it has less than ten employees, will go a long way in helping the new employee take sick days seriously. It may also be useful to let new employees know that being dishonest about paid sick days could have negative consequences on periodic reviews. Certainly, if you suspect an employee is abusing the paid sick day policy, look for a possible trend and then take appropriate action.
Employers who believe that a liberal paid sick day and PTO policy results in better retention performance, increased employee loyalty, and positive recruitment results, may want to consider offering more paid time off benefits such as paid maternity leave, paid time off to complete an adoption and paid time off for family caregivers.