use of PTO vs. LWOP

I would like to go to management with a proposal regarding the use of vacation and personal time. Currently our employees are allowed personal days as well as vacation days. Our policy states that an employee must use personal time before they can take time off with no pay. Once personal time has been exhausted they can then take time off without pay to save vacation days for future use.

In my opinion, this practice is counterproductive to a business. I would like to propose that all PTO must be used (vacation and personal) before an employee can take time off with no pay, but I need a good argument for this.

Would some of my forumites care to help me out with some ammunition for instituting this policy please. Thanks.


  • 3 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Just using common sense and logic, why would a company allow someone to go on leave without pay if they have personal time available to them?

    Ex. An employee is building up his personal time bank and taking days here and there without pay. Then he has one-2 weeks that he has to take citing that he "has time available". He will then put the pressure on you to grant this time even though he has taken off additional time without pay. You could run into an issue with a person who can afford to take LWOP vs.a person who cannot afford it. Could be seen by employees that those who can afford the LWOP are "allowed" to take it, actually getting more time off than normally granted.

    This is also the very reason that employees are required to exhaust PTO in conjunction with FMLA at most companies. Say, for example, someone takes off 12 weeks without pay and leaves 6 weeks of PTO in his bank. Consequently, he could come back,work for a couple of weeks and then put in for vacation time. Staff who have been stressed and overtaxed to compensate for this person being out for 12 weeks would not take too kindly to someone doing this.

    An employee can also bank up his personal time and expect to get paid for it in a lump sum if he resigns.

    At our company, it's frowned upon if an employee goes into a LWOP status purely because of mismanaging their time off (this discounts FMLA, etc.). We are very generous in the amount of time employees get, but it's often abused because of employees taking it as soon as it's earned.

    Don't know if any of this helps, but it will be interesting to see what others think.

  • We also don't require employees to use PTO if they are on FML or STD--only if they take a personal leave of absence. I've had cases where an employee uses their FML and STD for 12+ weeks, then comes back to work with three weeks vacation on the books that they have to use before the end of the year. We don't allow employees to carry over any PTO. My employer thinks they are being generous by not making employees use their PTO for FML or disability and our absenteeism rate is atrocious but they just don't see a problem with it. I get so frustrated xx(
  • Our time off policy is PTO, and we require employees to use PTO before LWOP. Prior HR administrations allowed LWOP with bank time on the books even though policies (the best I can tell) wouldn't allow it. After a great deal of effort and a couple of years, we've essentially moved away from the practice. All the reasons mentioned in the prior response are valid. Another issue to consider is benefits administration. Some or all of your benefits contracts may define minimum work hours for participation eligibility. Allowing employees LWOP can inadvertently risk their eligibility status and put your benefits administrator in a bind if/when work hours must be certified (STD claims).
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