Employee Vacations

Beach_BottleWhen it comes to employee benefits, paid vacation time is a favorite. Although not legally required in the U.S. (as it is in most other economically advanced countries), most employers — about 77% of businesses in the private sector — provide their employees with paid vacation time.*

What’s in it for you?

But what is the business impact of letting your employees go on vacation? Isn’t it bad, especially for small businesses, when key employees are gone for a week or longer? Actually, it isn’t. While it may be disruptive in the short term, providing paid vacation time can benefit employers. In a recent survey of human resources professionals, a large majority ranked taking vacation as very or extremely important for employee performance (94%), morale (92%), wellness (92%), productivity (90%), a positive culture (90%) and employee retention (88%).**

Survival strategies

Vacations may be a win-win, but you still need to minimize disruption and maintain productivity when employees are away. Here are a few tips:

• If you don’t already have one, formalize a vacation policy that spells out how to request vacation time, how many employees may be gone at the same time, how disputes will be handled, etc.

• Create a master calendar and record all approved time off.

• Cross-train employees; try to have at least two people trained to cover each job.

• Have employees update their job descriptions and provide access to any passwords or other information that may be needed during their absence.

• Prior to leaving, make sure employees compose “away” messages for voicemail and e-mail and let key customers and contacts know how long they will be gone.

Benefits are the bottom line

A comprehensive, competitive benefits package is the best way to attract and retain employees. Top prospects want health insurance, voluntary benefits and a retirement plan in addition to vacation time. How do your benefits stack up? Your financial professional knows the marketplace and can provide guidance to help you make your benefits package more competitive.

No-Vacation Nation Revisited, Center for Economic and Policy Research, May 2013

** Vacation’s Impact on the Workplace, SHRM/U.S. Travel Association, November 12, 2013

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