As the national conversation on paid leave moves further to center stage with a recent bill introduced in Congress and President Obamas executive memorandum, an overwhelming majority of employers say they already give some sort of paid time off to full-time employees, but fewer employers are offering paid time off for caregivers.
In the U.S., 99% of employers with 50 or more employees say have some form of time off with pay for their full-time employees, according to new data from the Families and Work Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management.
This study shows that paid leave is available to the vast majority of full-time employees, said Mike Aitken, SHRMs vice president of government affairs. When employers control their own benefit offerings, there can be flexibility and creativity, which benefit both employers and employees.
More employers still offer differentiated vacation (58%) and sick days (52%) in lieu of a paid time-off bank (41%), according to the data released Tuesday. Of those employers that do not provide PTO, 87% provide both vacation and sick days, 11% provide only vacation time, less than 1% provide only sick days and 1% offer neither vacation nor sick days to at least some of their employees.
In addition to the full-time employees, some employers are offering paid leave options to part-time employees hourly (offered by 24% of employers) or salaried (32%). And for employers offering a PTO program, large employers are more likely to offer it to their part-time employees than small employers.
While most full-time employees have access to paid leave, the changing nature of work more individuals are working multiple jobs or are working part-time positions because they cant find full-time work can pose economic and work-life challenges for these employees, added Kenneth Matos, senior director of research for FWI.
While the amount of time off provided by employers varies, the most common amount offered included 10 days for vacation and five days for sick, or 15 days of a PTO bank. There was more consistency in the maximum amount of time offered for vacation than PTO, with a third of employers offering 10 vacation days (33%) and only 12% offering PTO banks of 15 days.
Also see: The top employment issues of 2015
Another trend was the clustering of vacation days and PTO banks in increments of five: 10, 15, 20, etc. The maximum amount of vacation time per year ranged from three days to 200 days, with the average being 10 days.
However, while personal paid time off remains relatively available to everyone, a decline was seen in the amount of time offered for all types of unpaid caregiving leave except for maternity leave such as tending to a mildly ill child or a relative with a disability.
Fewer employers in 2014 (36%) indicated that they offer employees at least five days off per year to provide care for a mildly ill child without losing pay, using vacation days or having to make up another reason than in 2012 (45%), according to the report.
Recent legislation introduced in the House calls for companies with at least 15 employees to be required to provide each employee a minimum of one hour of earned paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 56 hours a year.
And while SHRM says it is in support of employers providing paid sick leave, the group suggests Congress should find a way to incentivize rather than mandate sick leave.
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