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February 10, 2010
Avoiding Common PTO Problems

In a 2010 BLR webinar, “Solving PTO Problems: How to Reduce Unscheduled Absences Without Alienating Employees or Violating the Law,” attorney Catherine Moreton Gray gave solutions to these common problems employers face when dealing with paid time off:

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  • Ineffective communication of policies and expectations
  • Supervisors may be inconsistent when they apply company policies
  • Supervisors avoid dealing with attendance problems to avoid conflict, and hope the situation will correct itself
  • Lack of supervisory training

To make PTO policies succeed, Gray advises employers to:

  • Review your employee handbook, and make sure your PTO policies, and those related to FMLA, Military Leave, Workers’ Compensation, etc., agree.
  • Audit payroll and time-tracking systems to make sure they agree with policies and procedures.
  • Think through your compensation issues for dealing with PTO, especially with exempt employees.
  • Make sure procedures are in place to let employees know where they stand with their PTO allowances.
  • Always require employees to call in and provide explanations for unscheduled absences.

Catherine Moreton Gray is an associate attorney in the Labor and Employment section of Robinson & Cole LLP in Hartford, Conn. She has more than 20 years of experience in human resources and employment law. Contact her at

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