Time off considerations Employers should consider the aftermath of PTO or vacation benefits in light of state and local orders to stay at home, limiting travel, etc. According to Lockton’s HR Trends Report, 85% of organizations providing PTO benefits limit the accrual by either limiting maximum banks to a specified amount (63%) or having a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy with no carryover (22%). Unless employees have used such PTO or vacation benefits during this pandemic, it is likely employers will need to consider amending PTO policies to address these situations. Specific questions employers should consider may include: • How will we manage if or when several of our vacation-starved employees want to take their PTO/vacation at the same time? • Can (or should) we limit or restrict employees from taking PTO? • Can (or should) we force employees to take PTO while confined to their homes during the pandemic? Given the reported benefits of time off, will those benefits be realized through “staycations” given the current circumstances? Most handbooks or written policies reserve the right to change those policies at the employer’s discretion. Subject to applicable law in your jurisdiction, employers should consider whether they can and should modify their policies to account for post-pandemic business needs. The following may be appropriate depending on the employer’s specific circumstances: • Establish fixed or conditional blackout dates during anticipated busy times, during which employees would be prohibited or limited from taking PTO/ vacation. • Consider giving priority to “essential” employees who continued to work during the pandemic or those who continued to work remotely full time during the pandemic. • Extend the deadline for use-it-or-lose-it PTO/vacation programs (e.g., if employees are currently required to use their vacation within the calendar year, consider extending that to March 31, 2021 or a later date, giving employees more time to use the PTO/vacation once things return to “normal”). • Establish a max on PTO hours that will carry over into 2021, consistent with applicable state or local laws. • Limit, defer or halt the future accrual of PTO benefits that are in excess of what is legally required. • Offer payout of accrued but unused PTO, such as at the end of 2020. RETURN TO WORK SITE TOOLKIT Lockton Companies COMMUNICATE TO EMPLOYEES AND TRAIN MANAGERS We recommend any changes are communicated to employees and managers as soon as reasonably possible. See sample communication.