Paid vacation and sick days help keep your employees’ physical and mental health and well-being balanced, but offering enough paid time off to accommodate personal and family commitments while keeping your business profitable.
Benefits of Paid Time Off
Offering paid time off (PTO) to your employees often pays dividends for the employer in the form of the employees’ physical and mental health, attitudes toward work, and productivity. Disconnecting from work, especially from a stressful or demanding job, will afford your work staff a welcome reprieve from the daily grind, allowing them the chance to rest, relax, and rejuvenate. And when they return, they will likely have gained new perspective on a project, be more productive, and be more in tune with their colleagues and managers.
Remind (and even insist) that employees take advantage of PTO and that, if they don’t, it could cost them in several ways. For example, if your company has a “Use It or Lose It” policy, your employees are essentially forfeiting a percentage of their salary by not using their PTO, as this benefit is already built in to their wages. Or, by not utilizing their PTO, they might be unable to take care of certain household projects (e.g., painting the living room or cleaning the gutters) and have to pay someone else to complete them. Additionally, exhaustion, stress, and the physical toll of work can lead to increased or unexpected medical expenses.
Not offering PTO (or employees not utilizing PTO) can cost your business a great deal of money. Employees who are overworked and stressed eventually get burned out. Their productivity decreases, and they may lose interest or passion for their job. This can have numerous negative effects, including missing work because of illness, reduced productivity, and lack of creativity and innovation.
No one likes being sick. And no one likes being around sick people. Research shows that 69% of workers don’t take sick days even when they are really sick and have paid sick days, which obviously puts coworkers at risk, leading to an endless cycle of illness among employees that can last for months. In fact, workplace illnesses cost employers $160 billion every year in lost productivity.
Offering plenty of paid sick days will discourage employees from coming to work while they are ill. This will prevent the spread of germs in your office and prevent others from getting sick, which costs you a lot of resources, especially in employee productivity and morale.
Plus, most employees put the majority of their sick days to proper use. Whether your company’s sick days are structured for just your employees or extended to care for a family member, it is a relief to not have to choose between caring for yourself or a loved one and your job. When used appropriately and fairly, this benefit is a win-win for employers and employees.
General Paid Time Off (PTO)
Instead of differentiating between vacation and sick days, many companies are moving to a general PTO system that can be used at the discretion of the employee and can help balance competing personal and professional priorities. This structure allows for more flexibility for the employee to accommodate the demands of everyday life while also fulfilling the demands of their work schedule on their own terms, which often translates into happier, healthier, and more productive employees.
Paid time off is an important part of balancing a fulfilling work and personal life. By offering your employees PTO, you can show them how much you truly care about their well-being and the future of your business. Lead by example and take time off whenever you need a break or aren’t feeling your best. Encourage employees to do the same, and you’ll likely be rewarded with employee loyalty and productivity.
Schaefer, K. (2016, January 6). How not to get sick at work. Bloomberg Business. Retrieved from
Survey shows workers often go to work sick. (2016, January 12). GoJo Industries. Retrieved from