View Full Version : Employee won't take PTO

01-25-2005, 12:52 AM
We introduced a new PTO policy this year for employees. PTO days are to be taken for sick, vacation, personal - whatever. We require advance notice and approval unless it is an emergency.

Two questions:
1. Can we insist on some kind of documentation for emergency? "Emergencies" have become the status quo in some work groups. No one will bother to get approval - they just call in. My take is that unless we can prove the employee is lying, not much we can do? any advice?

2. Also, how do you handle employees who refuse to take PTO days and just want to not be paid for days they don't come in? Should we modify the policy to read that we will apply such days to PTO?

This is becoming a huge problem.


Don D
01-25-2005, 01:10 AM
Your policy can be whatever you want it to be. Many employers will not apply excused absences for illness without a "Drs Excuse". An employer is at liberty to have a policy which does charge absences to the employee's leave bank, whether sick, vacation or PTO.

01-25-2005, 01:15 AM
Hi Catherine!

Our policy is if the absence is not approved in advance, it is considered "unexcused". This is taken off PTO. On the 5th "unexcused", there is a penalty PTO day assessed for excessive absences. (Of course, this would not apply to FMLA circumstances).

There is no such thing in our office of having an option to take LWOP instead of PTO. If PTO is available this must be used. We frown on employees getting to a LWOP status. This indicates they are not handling their leave banks appropriately.

Just out of curiosity...why would anyone allow an employee LWOP instead of taking PTO? They are banking up their hours to either take an extended leave (after they have already been out) or they will leave and expect to get their banks paid out of them.

01-25-2005, 02:59 AM
Likewise, our policy requires any paid time off must be applied to absences - employees do not have the option of taking LWOP if paid time is available to them.

01-25-2005, 03:12 AM
If an employee asks to take time off unpaid, it needs to be approved in writing by the executive director. I think it would be hard to classify an emergency. How could you get them all? I think I would probably write that it would be considered on a case by case situation (for emergencies). Typically our employees are required to use leave time if they have it.

01-25-2005, 03:44 AM
We do not pay unused PDO time when someone leaves. So if they do not want to use PDOs, we have them complete the form and write on it that they do not want to be paid and sign it. Usually, it is because they have a low balance and have a vacation scheduled. We make sure they know that any remaining balance is NOT paid if they leave the company for ANY reason. Donice, Tampa

01-25-2005, 03:50 AM
Hey Donice! FYI

Make sure your state will allow you not to pay out accrued leave. Some states require that you do this.

01-25-2005, 03:54 AM
We converted to a PTO plan a couple years ago. The main complaint from my managers was that employees could now call in whenever they wanted b/c they knew they could take a PTO day and get paid. My response was that it is an unscheduled absence and deal with it as an attendance issue. It took a while to get used to it but it works great now. We do not allow employees LWOP if they have time in their bank. Company policy states no unpaid time unless your PTO bank is empty.

01-25-2005, 07:30 AM
Your company should not have gone to PTO if you are now going to pressure the ee to produce some kinda document. PTO was developed to eliminate the management issues pertaining to handling the other programs by HR Department. Once one is out of PTO hours, there are no more paid hours off. "Un paid hours off" is also a great way to deal with being employee friendly and helpful, while allowing the company maximum opportunity to build a strong employee relationship society. It also helps you move more quickly to an attendance issue and the ridding the company of anyone not wanting to work for compensation that your company is willing to pay.

I make sure all new employees understand that Doctor's excuses, paper, etc. do not put "widgets" on the floor or in our case "piglets" on the floor. I have not seen one excuse "pull a piglet".


01-25-2005, 07:59 AM
We stopped abuse of PTO by stating in the policy if they were gone 2 or more hours during an 8 hour day, it was mandatory that they take PTO. What was happening was that employees would not use PTO so they could have time off at a later date. We have found that doctors appts, etc., are now done at the end of the day or beginning of the day involving less time away from work as they don't want to use their PTO. Also, if they use it, they don't have the PTO available for paid holidays and vacations.

01-26-2005, 12:15 AM
My former company also switched from vacation/sick to PTO. We also had the policy that any time missed of 2 hours or more in a day was automatic PTO time and they were deducted/paid accordingly.

I would NOT recommend requiring paperwork verifying an "emergency" as this negates one of the reasons for going to PTO in the first place, getting the supervisor/manager out of having to make determinations regarding an "emergency".

While we did not penalize an EE for taking PTO without advance notice, I like the idea from some of the posters about those absences being considered "unexcused" and following your attendance policy in dealing with them accordingly.

As for the "unpaid time off", I ran into a few individuals who requested this and it was always denied unless their PTO bank had been depleted and when that was the case, the reason(s) for the absence were considered.

01-26-2005, 12:40 AM
although we don't have a PTO policy we have addressed the issue of employees taking time off without pay. we addressed the issue by amending our policy to state that we have developed a time off (vac and sick)that is conudcive to our business needs and beneficial to employees. employees are not permitted to take time off without pay unless approved in advance and for valid reason. unapproved is considered "unexcused" and we discipline for unexcused. since we can't prevent employees from having "emergencies" we try to make it difficult for them by limiting the number of occurrences. we don't allow employees to use sick leave except for themselves or a minor child which we require documentation (for the child). employees out 2 days or more requires a docotor' note as well. we also state employees who fail to call in for one day are deemed to have tendered their resignation. still have some grey areas that we're addressing for the next revision. seems drastic but slows down the wheel!

you may want to amend your policy that states any time away from the job will be covered with PTO. don't give the EE the opportunity to define how they want to use PTO you need to do that up front. any unapproved time away from the job will be dealt with disciplinary action and so forth.

good luck

01-27-2005, 03:59 AM
I'm confused, so if an employee calls in sick, it is considered an unexcused absence and they are penalized for it? I guess I just don't see why someone should get disciplined for being legitimately sick. Unless I am misunderstanding something, seems like even the honest people suffer. I have good employees that are sick for 5 days a year...very easy for a parent with kids. Can you please help me understand?

In CA, if you offer time off, whether sick, vacation or PTO , you CANNOT discipline an employee for using what you have offered, only if they exceed their balance. You also must allow half of the "bank" of time off to care for ill children.

01-27-2005, 04:01 AM
I am happy to see so many have a PTO program in place vs vacation/sick leave. I very much want to move our employees to a PTO program.

The conversion from sick/vacation to PTO is holding me up. We have many long term employees with large sick leave banks who dont want to make changes.

Any suggestions or policies to share on the conversion? Did you put a short term disability plan in place?

My e-mail is loriw@co.klickitat.wa.us or my fax is 509-773-5139.

Many thanks.

01-27-2005, 05:39 AM
I'm new to the forum, but it is great!

I'd also like to hear about any PTO conversions that had to deal with a large sick bank. We're a non-profit, public agency in Ohio with employees who have that entitlement mentality. I did it 10 years ago at a previous employer but that was the private sector with no sick bank (it was so easy).

My e-mail is kstengel@mail.mpl.lib.oh.us


E Wart
01-28-2005, 12:48 AM
On your second question, PTO is a benefit that employees need to use (we know the reasons why). It is not a compensation program. We had it where, even though time was accumulated each month... on 12/31 of each year you could only take so much time over, which was still a lot in case someone needed time off in Jan. However, if they didn't use the time, they lost it.
Now why are employees being permitted to take days off without pay. (This way you are getting hurt with twice as much time off from work.) I would say yes. If an employee wishes to take time off, you could force them to use it as PTO or not allow them to take it off. If something urgent occurred (or they won a trip to Europe) and didn't have any time left, the you could decide whether or not to allow them time off without pay. However, this should be your control, not theirs.
# 1-This sounds like an attendance issue. I would suggest reviewing your policy and seeing what you lack to enforce good attendance. (There is a difference between time off and your attendance policy.)

E Wart