15 Types of Paid and Unpaid Leave and Time Off
Switching jobs can be mentally and physically exhausting. Starting a new job can seem like we’re toddlers again. We have to learn how to behave in the new environment and where to set our boundaries. We need to learn about the do’s and don’ts and how our new office breathes and functions.
This is the reality for many working millennials. Switching jobs seems to be part of their routine. What’s sad, we cannot see the end of this trend coming any time soon. To make this clear, millennials change jobs three times more than their non-millennial coworkers which landed them the name of the “hopping” generation. However, with every job change comes learning about (often different) leave policies the company they’re working for has. Additionally, the situation becomes more complicated if we’re changing a company and the country we’re working in. That’s why we want to share with you a clear overview of types of paid and unpaid leave and time off and give you the possibility to successfully kick-start your new job.
Let’s talk about paid and unpaid leave and time off
When we talk about leave types we usually think about vacation and sick days. However, there’s more to it when it comes to paid and unpaid leave and time off. Some of them are legally mandated to be available and others are offered as a perk, but we shouldn’t be caught by surprise when HR brings this question up.
We define vacations as paid leave granted to employees to rest, attend to personal matters and relax and include unlimited vacation and regulated vacation. Depending on the law, employees can earn their vacation time from six months up to one year in the company. The number of paid vacation days varies from the country with the U.S. being at the bottom of the ladder when it comes to the number of paid vacation days, and France and Germany at the top.
Parental leave is one of the most common types of employee leave.
Parental leave is another, the most common type of paid leave employees can earn by working. However, not every country is providing paid parental leave for its citizens which is the case with the U.S. for instance. Besides offering many perks still out of reach for many mortals in more traditional workplaces, parental leave policies in startups around the world seem to catch quite an attention. And for a good reason. Companies like Pinterest and Netflix, besides offering unlimited parental leave to their employees offer specialized lactation rooms, transition periods where employees can work part-time and still be paid their full salary, etc.
Sick leave is time off from work due to an illness or health-related condition of employees or their family members. Employees usually accumulate sick leave time by pay period or month. Sick leave is often offered as a part of the employee’s benefits package. However, many companies are struggling with sick leave abuse often due to too strict and rigid management. Oftentimes employees have to call in sick to work and lie they’re unwell because they’re afraid their management won’t let them use the day off to finish some personal chorea.
Paid Time Off (PTO) is not the same as a vacation. PTO stands for the period when an employee receives pay while being away from work and not working at the same time. On the other hand, vacation is an example of PTO, however, PTO is not necessarily a vacation. Examples of non-vacation PTO include pregnancy leave, disability leave, jury duty, holiday pay, or sick leave. Some companies, mostly startups, offer an Unlimited PTO policy to their employees. This policy enables them to take as many days off as they please, as long as they finish their job.
You have to know your rights. Do you know you can have these types of paid and unpaid leave and time off?
Bereavement leave or funeral leave is time off from work employees take due to the death of a family member. This time employees usually take to grieve the loss of a close family member and to prepare and attend a funeral.
Paid leave of absence is a time during which an employee is absent from work due to some exceptional circumstances. To be clear, work from home, vacations, sabbaticals and paid holidays don’t count in paid leave of absence. During this period, employees are retaining their status and receive all related benefits such as salary, compensation, and insurance.
There are two most common types of paid leave of absence: medical and personal and each of them can be paid or unpaid, based on the previous agreement with the employer.
Military leave is time off from work employees can take to participate in certain active or inactive military duties. In the U.S. employees who want to take military leave due to voluntary or involuntary military service have the right to their former position upon termination of military leave. This includes comparable positions, compensation, and benefits.
Holiday pay is paid time off from work happening during public holidays including Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s, etc. The state usually regulates them and the employer has to comply with it. However, there are certain discrepancies when calculating holiday pay for part-time employees versus full-timers and you should check it to avoid any nasty surprises.
Sabbatical leave is usually given to university professors and teachers to study, conduct research, and professional improvement. In most cases, an employee earns one year of sabbatical leave for every seven years worked, however, it does depend completely on the employer.
Here are some of the less common types of paid and unpaid leave and time off
Voting time is time off granted for the majority of employees in most U.S. states. There’s no federal law that mandates employers to provide voting time off for their employees given voting occupies only a few hours in a day. According to one survey almost 50 percent of the employers in the U.S., offer paid time off to vote for their employees.
Jury duty can be paid or unpaid time off from work for jury duty service. The general rule forces employers to let their employees take time off to comply with their citizen’s duties. Some states, however, require employers to let employees use their accrued vacation or other paid time off while on jury duty.
Whether employers are going to pay jury duty or not depends on the state’s law. However, some of them favor the employees and ban employers from subtracting jury duty time from their monthly paychecks. Additionally, the state prohibits the employer from taking any adverse job actions while employees are on their jury duty like harassment, threatening, or firing.
There are some special occasions when employees can ask for exclusion from jury duty as per the request of the employer due to an increased workload or the simple fact that an employee’s absence would endanger the company’s survival.
Two trickiest types of leave employees can take are comp time and religious observance
Compensatory time or comp time is paid time off non-exempt employees can get instead of overtime pay. This means that instead of paying extra hours, employers can offer paid time off from work for an equivalent amount of time to the extra hours worked. However, companies should be careful when offering comp time because in most cases it’s illegal.
Religious observance can be paid or unpaid time off. It refers to the time employers have to grant their employees due to religious observations. This is a sensitive topic because religious discrimination could have legal consequences for the employer.
Adverse weather leave can be tricky
Adverse weather time off refers to time off from work employees take due to weather inconveniences. There is a distinction between paid adverse weather time off between nonexempt and exempt employees. Nonexempt employees don’t receive pay for taking adverse weather time off.
If the employer closes the business due to poor weather, exempt employees have to be paid full salary. Employers cannot take deductions from exempt employees’ pay for the time they didn’t work due to poor weather. If this state remains the same, and businesses cannot run as per usual, employers have to pay exempt workers their full wages.
But there’s more to adverse weather leave
However, if employees decide to use the time off due to rain, snow, or any other emergency and employers choose to keep their business open, they can ask employees to use any paid leave type at their disposal. In case employees are not eligible for paid leave yet, employers can deduct time they didn’t work from their wages.
Nonexempt employees don’t have the right to pay for taking adverse weather time off. However, we would recommend employers to pay them anyway. That way they can show their appreciation towards their nonexempt employees and boost motivation and engagement among them.
Do you know that some types of paid and unpaid leave and time off can make you a good coworker?
A shared leave policy allows employees to donate their sick and vacation leave to another absent employee. The need for a shared leave policy can happen when employees are out on their leave and experiencing life-threatening diseases. Or they might be out of the leave due to complicated birth and some other grave family situation.
We have the ultimate solution for tracking paid and unpaid leave and time off!
Now we summarized the most common types of paid and unpaid leave and time off. The next task is to think about the ways to track them. This is not an easy task and it can make HR feel like they are doing the heavy lifting. What’s worse, tracking paid and unpaid leave and time off is one of the many tasks they have to do. Fear not — the Vacation Tracker dashboard is going to become your new best friend.
Vacation Tracker makes this task easier by enabling administrators to configure the organization’s leave type within seconds. All they need to do is to go to the “Settings” page and change the default leave type. Additionally, they can choose among 9 different leave types! Tracking sick days, conference days, jury duty, paternity leave, and more became so much easier!
For businesses with multiple offices and teams tracking time off is a snap! Vacation Tracker enables businesses to set up teams to track their employees’ leave more efficiently. That way each team administrator can approve or deny leave requests for their team members. Additionally, they can see the information for each team individually. What’s more, companies can adjust holidays on a global level and for each team separately.
Tracking paid and unpaid leave and time off doesn’t have to be expensive!
Some people believe everyone’s up for the money. Not us! We decided to keep Vacation Tracker affordable and help out as many businesses as we can achieve their goals. For organizations that have up to 50 users, Vacation Tracker will cost only $25 per month. Once an organization surpasses this number, the price every month is calculated by the number of users. The price for each user is $1! And for organizations with more than 250 users, Vacation Trackers is ready to offer a special price!
What’s best, you don’t have to pay anything until you see if Vacation Tracker suits your business model. You only have to request a free 7-day trial and then decide if you want to make a purchase or not. Start now!
A cat enthusiast and a cupcake maniac, Ana is a freelance Content Writer passionate about HR, productivity, and team management topics. When she’s not at her keyboard, you can find Ana in the kitchen, trying to make delicious cookies.