Employee Leave

The department of Human Resources typically manages the leave programs and policies for employed workers at companies. Leave policies vary by company, but are regulated in the US under employment laws, such as the Family Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Leave is a term which can refer to either sick days or vacation, or both. Both vacation time and sick leave are generally considered to be among the most highly desirable benefits that employees can receive from their employer. In the US, unless your company is located in the District of Columbia or in San Francisco, there are no legal requirements that a business offer its employees paid sick leave. However, this omission can make the recruitment and retention of talent a much bigger chore because of the popularity and desirability of this benefit. Additionally, policies under the FMLA create employee rights to leave for medical reasons.

There are several decisions which a company needs to make if they are going to offer paid leave to their employees. The amount of time that in advance that vacation must be scheduled will greatly affect scheduling, so it is generally advisable to require requests be made a minimum of two weeks to one month beforehand. Another consideration is whether the vacation time will accrue or be set up front, and whether the time will roll over to the following year if left unused. Having a smart and sensible accrual policy is advisable, since this allows employees to save up their time to take a one or two week vacation if they choose. Some employers will offer sick days and vacation days as two separate things, while a current trend is emerging in business of offering paid time off in general, regardless of the reason. This allows more flexibility to the employee to apply their time to whichever need arises. If a company does separate vacation and sick time, it is wise to require doctor's notes or daily check-in calls for sick time to avoid the misuse of the time as vacation. Combining the two into paid time off will also avoid this issue.

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