More US Companies Allow Vacation Time Trades

Many US companies are ready to allow their employees to buy or sell vacation days, giving them greater flexibility in managing their time off, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Its soon-to-be-released survey suggests that 9% of respondent employers offer workers the option to cash out unused vacation time, while 7% permit them to donate unused vacation time to a pool that can be used by colleagues and 5% let employees buy additional vacation days via a payroll deduction. The policy enables workers planning a lengthy trip abroad or who wish to extend maternity or paternity leave the option of purchasing extra days, while co-workers can sell unused vacation days in return for cash.

The number of companies with paid time off (PTO) plans that combine vacation time, sick leave and personal days, has grown from 42% in 2009 to 52% this year, according to SHRM Resource. The group says it encourages employees to schedule most of their time off, rather than springing it on employers.

“In terms of human resources it’s easier to manage it,” said SHRM manager Evren Esen. “They put everything together in one bank and don’t have to separately track sick, vacation or personal days.”

Examples include Chicago-based USG Corp, which allows its 9,000 employees to buy and sell up to one week of vacation time annually and Kimberly Clark Corp in Irving, Texas, which for the past 15 years has offered its workforce a flexible vacation programme that allows them to carry unused vacation days over into the next year although not to sell them.

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