State:

National
Personal leave refers to short-term absences for reasons other than illness, such as taking a child to a physician, school appointments, time to run errands, etc. No federal law requires employers to provide paid or unpaid personal days, but many employers do provide this benefit. In several states , so-called "small necessities leave" laws require that leave be given for many of the same reasons employees use personal leave. A personal day policy should be part of an overall leave policy, which may include some of the latest trends, including flexible work time and leave donation programs.
“Personal leave” or personal days may have different meanings in different organizations. In this section, however, personal leave refers to short-term absences for reasons other than illness, such as taking a child to a physician, school appointments, time to run errands, etc. Please see the national Leave of Absence section.
Federal law. No federal law requires employers to provide paid or unpaid personal days, but many employers do provide this benefit.
Practice tip: It is best to provide several personal days that employees may use for personal business without offering any further explanation to the employer. This avoids putting employees in a position in which they must call in sick to avoid giving a specific reason for needing time off. Granting no personal days merely discourages employees from giving advance notice when they do need time to conduct personal business. Some employers combine vacation and personal days, with a provision that allows supervisors to approve short-notice vacations.
Time off for exempt employees. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) permits an employer to deduct for full days taken for personal reasons without loss of the exempt status of the employee. In practice, however, exempt employees who work overtime without compensation are usually permitted to be absent for reasons other than illness without loss of pay for periods of a day or two, depending on the circumstances. Please see the national Salaried Employee section.
The federal FMLA requires employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to eligible employees for a variety of reasons related to family and medical care. Generally, leave taken under the federal FMLA is unpaid. However, employees may be eligible to receive money or pay while they are on FMLA leave by substituting paid vacation, sick, personal, or other paid leave time for unpaid FMLA leave time. FMLA’s regulations state that if an employee chooses to substitute accrued paid leave for FMLA leave, he or she may do so. If an employee does not choose to substitute accrued paid leave, the employer may require the employee to substitute accrued paid leave for unpaid FMLA leave pursuant to the employer’s established policies for use of paid leave.
The employer may require that an employee comply with its established leave policies for use of paid leave, even if they are more (or less) stringent than FMLA’s rules. However, when an employee chooses or an employer requires substitution of accrued paid leave, the employer must inform the employee that he or she must satisfy any procedural requirements of the paid leave policy only in connection with the receipt of such payment. This notice is provided in federal Form WH-381 (Eligibility and Notice of Rights and Responsibilities). If an employee does not comply with the additional requirements in an employer’s paid leave policy, the employee is not entitled to substitute accrued paid leave, but the employee remains entitled to take unpaid FMLA leave.
Many states now have their own family leave laws that can affect the availability of leave or the terms and conditions of receiving leave. Please see the national Leave of Absence section.
Please see the state Leave of Absence section.
There is no federal law requiring leave for employees to address so-called small necessities. However, a number of states have passed laws allowing employees to attend to small necessities.
Generally speaking, a "small necessities law" is a statute allowing employees to take unpaid leave in increments of less than 1 full day to attend to certain family matters--usually parent-teacher conferences, pediatrician visits, and elder care. Each state that has enacted a small necessities law has tailored the law’s provisions to its own needs.
For example, while some states allow leave for each of the three reasons previously stated, quite a few others focus solely on school activities. Some states have made the law applicable to both public and private employers; others cover only public employers. To see if a state has such a law, see the state
Please see the state Leave of Absence section.
Employers in states without small necessities laws have no obligation to grant their employees leave to attend their children’s school conferences or activities, and in some states, medical appointments of their children or elderly relatives. However, it may still make sense to consider voluntarily allowing some form of small necessities leave.
There is no federal law that requires employers to give employees paid time off to vote; however, many states’ laws provide for time off to vote. Other laws regulate leave time for court appearances and jury duty. Please see the national Jury Duty/Court Appearance section.
Please see the state Political Activity section.
Even when not required to do so by state law, many employers allow time off when employees cannot get to the polls because of their working hours. Some employers pay employees for this time. If the employer decides to give employees time off to vote, include the policy in the employee handbook and post it on the company bulletin board. Require employees to apply in writing to their supervisors for the time off and then file the request with note of its approval or disapproval in the employee's personnel file.
Most employers allow some time off for bereavement. When developing a bereavement leave policy, employers should consider the degree of relationship required to qualify for leave and have a specified policy concerning whether the leave is paid and how much time is available for time off depending on the relationship to the deceased. Please see the national Death in Family section.
The concept of personal leave has expanded to a full range of alternative work arrangements for employers to utilize. The most common is flex time—allowing people to work other than between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., usually requiring their presence in the "core" hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Other variations are compressed workweeks, telecommuting, having two part-time employees share a job, and phased retirement or phased return from maternity leave. Such flex options are no big deal to many employers, but they engender tremendous employee loyalty.
In addition, employers may choose to utilize paid-time-off (PTO) banks instead of the discrete pockets of time labeled vacation, personal days, holidays, and sick time. PTO banks promote employee responsibility and give managers more notice about when workers will be out.
Finally, there is the concept of buying and selling either leave time or PTO. Less common, this strategy allows employees to trade salary dollars for more time off, the exchange occurring with the employer rather than with other employees. The program can be helpful in recruiting mid-career employees whose prior employers gave them more generous vacation allowances than their new employers feel is affordable.
Guidelines on personal days should be incorporated into the overall leave policy. In addition to the points already mentioned, employers should consider the following when developing a policy:
Eligibility. How long must new employees work before becoming eligible to use personal days?
Requests. Personal days are designed to cover unexpected and unavoidable circumstances, and employees may need to use that time on short notice. When the need for personal time off is foreseeable, how far in advance should requests be submitted? To whom? Must employees complete any written forms?
Timing. Are there restrictions when personal days may not be taken? For example, some employers restrict employees from using personal days immediately before holidays or vacation time, except with special permission from management.
Accumulation. Can personal time be carried over into the next year? Some employers do not permit this practice.
Termination. The circumstances under which an employee leaves the company probably will have an impact on whether additional pay is received for unused personal or vacation time. For example, some employers do not pay for unused time for employees who quit unless they give a certain amount of notice. Also, some state laws may require employers to pay employees for unused accrued time.
Unions. If the workforce is unionized, the contract probably contains provisions for personal time; the employer must comply with these provisions. The employer should determine whether personal days for nonunionized employees will be the same as for those covered by the contract.
Changes in policy. While changing a time-off policy can be disruptive to the workforce, it is a good idea to retain the right to do so. Otherwise, an employer may find that it has an obligation to provide a benefit that no longer suits its business needs.
The economic and emotional pressures of employee morale, employee turnover, and mandated unpaid leave under federal and state law are causing many employers to consider forming leave donation programs (also known as “leave banks”) within their companies. In a leave bank, employees may voluntarily donate portions of their accrued leave to a “bank” to be used by other eligible employees as paid leave. Leave banks are an efficient way of giving employees paid leave for otherwise unpaid time--enabling them to attend to health needs and resolve family issues. An employee-sponsored leave bank also boosts morale by allowing employees to help each other.
Employers that are considering the adoption of a leave bank/donation program should first determine employee interest in such a program and then consider the following issues:
Confidentiality. Whether the employer will identify the individuals receiving and donating the leave.
Rules for eligibility. Whether the leave may be used only for medical leave, or for bereavement, personal days, vacation, or even birthdays. Who will be eligible, e.g., only employees attending to family members. How requests for leave will be received and approved or rejected.
Method of donation. Whether employees may donate sick leave, vacation time, or both. Whether a maximum limit should be placed on the amount of leave donated.
FLSA. Requirements that exempt employees must take a full day off rather than only a few hours.
Leave calculations. Whether the leave will be “hour-for-hour,” regardless of pay scale or will be calculated by wage, and ensuring that recordkeeping accounts for leave under the FMLA.
The U.S Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division administers the FMLA. You may also want to visit the Department of Labor's website at http://www.dol.gov for information on the FMLA, the FLSA, and other federal labor laws administered by the Department.
Reviewed July 2015.
Related Topics:
National
Personal leave refers to short-term absences for reasons other than illness, such as taking a child to a physician, school appointments, time to run errands, etc. No federal law requires employers to provide paid or unpaid personal days, but many employers do provide this benefit. In several states , so-called "small necessities leave" laws require that leave be given for many of the same reasons employees use personal leave. A personal day policy should be part of an overall leave policy, which may include some of the latest trends, including flexible work time and leave donation programs.
“Personal leave” or personal days may have different meanings in different organizations. In this section, however, personal leave refers to short-term absences for reasons other than illness, such as taking a child to a physician, school appointments, time to run errands, etc. Please see the national Leave of Absence section.
Federal law. No federal law requires employers to provide paid or unpaid personal days, but many employers do provide this benefit.
Practice tip: It is best to provide several personal days that employees may use for personal business without offering any further explanation to the employer. This avoids putting employees in a position in which they must call in sick to avoid giving a specific reason for needing time off. Granting no personal days merely discourages employees from giving advance notice when they do need time to conduct personal business. Some employers combine vacation and personal days, with a provision that allows supervisors to approve short-notice vacations.
Time off for exempt employees. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) permits an employer to deduct for full days taken for personal reasons without loss of the exempt status of the employee. In practice, however, exempt employees who work overtime without compensation are usually permitted to be absent for reasons other than illness without loss of pay for periods of a day or two, depending on the circumstances. Please see the national Salaried Employee section.
The federal FMLA requires employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to eligible employees for a variety of reasons related to family and medical care. Generally, leave taken under the federal FMLA is unpaid. However, employees may be eligible to receive money or pay while they are on FMLA leave by substituting paid vacation, sick, personal, or other paid leave time for unpaid FMLA leave time. FMLA’s regulations state that if an employee chooses to substitute accrued paid leave for FMLA leave, he or she may do so. If an employee does not choose to substitute accrued paid leave, the employer may require the employee to substitute accrued paid leave for unpaid FMLA leave pursuant to the employer’s established policies for use of paid leave.
The employer may require that an employee comply with its established leave policies for use of paid leave, even if they are more (or less) stringent than FMLA’s rules. However, when an employee chooses or an employer requires substitution of accrued paid leave, the employer must inform the employee that he or she must satisfy any procedural requirements of the paid leave policy only in connection with the receipt of such payment. This notice is provided in federal Form WH-381 (Eligibility and Notice of Rights and Responsibilities). If an employee does not comply with the additional requirements in an employer’s paid leave policy, the employee is not entitled to substitute accrued paid leave, but the employee remains entitled to take unpaid FMLA leave.
Many states now have their own family leave laws that can affect the availability of leave or the terms and conditions of receiving leave. Please see the national Leave of Absence section.
Please see the state Leave of Absence section.
There is no federal law requiring leave for employees to address so-called small necessities. However, a number of states have passed laws allowing employees to attend to small necessities.
Generally speaking, a "small necessities law" is a statute allowing employees to take unpaid leave in increments of less than 1 full day to attend to certain family matters--usually parent-teacher conferences, pediatrician visits, and elder care. Each state that has enacted a small necessities law has tailored the law’s provisions to its own needs.
For example, while some states allow leave for each of the three reasons previously stated, quite a few others focus solely on school activities. Some states have made the law applicable to both public and private employers; others cover only public employers. To see if a state has such a law, see the state
Please see the state Leave of Absence section.
Employers in states without small necessities laws have no obligation to grant their employees leave to attend their children’s school conferences or activities, and in some states, medical appointments of their children or elderly relatives. However, it may still make sense to consider voluntarily allowing some form of small necessities leave.
There is no federal law that requires employers to give employees paid time off to vote; however, many states’ laws provide for time off to vote. Other laws regulate leave time for court appearances and jury duty. Please see the national Jury Duty/Court Appearance section.
Please see the state Political Activity section.
Even when not required to do so by state law, many employers allow time off when employees cannot get to the polls because of their working hours. Some employers pay employees for this time. If the employer decides to give employees time off to vote, include the policy in the employee handbook and post it on the company bulletin board. Require employees to apply in writing to their supervisors for the time off and then file the request with note of its approval or disapproval in the employee's personnel file.
Most employers allow some time off for bereavement. When developing a bereavement leave policy, employers should consider the degree of relationship required to qualify for leave and have a specified policy concerning whether the leave is paid and how much time is available for time off depending on the relationship to the deceased. Please see the national Death in Family section.
The concept of personal leave has expanded to a full range of alternative work arrangements for employers to utilize. The most common is flex time—allowing people to work other than between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., usually requiring their presence in the "core" hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Other variations are compressed workweeks, telecommuting, having two part-time employees share a job, and phased retirement or phased return from maternity leave. Such flex options are no big deal to many employers, but they engender tremendous employee loyalty.
In addition, employers may choose to utilize paid-time-off (PTO) banks instead of the discrete pockets of time labeled vacation, personal days, holidays, and sick time. PTO banks promote employee responsibility and give managers more notice about when workers will be out.
Finally, there is the concept of buying and selling either leave time or PTO. Less common, this strategy allows employees to trade salary dollars for more time off, the exchange occurring with the employer rather than with other employees. The program can be helpful in recruiting mid-career employees whose prior employers gave them more generous vacation allowances than their new employers feel is affordable.
Guidelines on personal days should be incorporated into the overall leave policy. In addition to the points already mentioned, employers should consider the following when developing a policy:
Eligibility. How long must new employees work before becoming eligible to use personal days?
Requests. Personal days are designed to cover unexpected and unavoidable circumstances, and employees may need to use that time on short notice. When the need for personal time off is foreseeable, how far in advance should requests be submitted? To whom? Must employees complete any written forms?
Timing. Are there restrictions when personal days may not be taken? For example, some employers restrict employees from using personal days immediately before holidays or vacation time, except with special permission from management.
Accumulation. Can personal time be carried over into the next year? Some employers do not permit this practice.
Termination. The circumstances under which an employee leaves the company probably will have an impact on whether additional pay is received for unused personal or vacation time. For example, some employers do not pay for unused time for employees who quit unless they give a certain amount of notice. Also, some state laws may require employers to pay employees for unused accrued time.
Unions. If the workforce is unionized, the contract probably contains provisions for personal time; the employer must comply with these provisions. The employer should determine whether personal days for nonunionized employees will be the same as for those covered by the contract.
Changes in policy. While changing a time-off policy can be disruptive to the workforce, it is a good idea to retain the right to do so. Otherwise, an employer may find that it has an obligation to provide a benefit that no longer suits its business needs.
The economic and emotional pressures of employee morale, employee turnover, and mandated unpaid leave under federal and state law are causing many employers to consider forming leave donation programs (also known as “leave banks”) within their companies. In a leave bank, employees may voluntarily donate portions of their accrued leave to a “bank” to be used by other eligible employees as paid leave. Leave banks are an efficient way of giving employees paid leave for otherwise unpaid time--enabling them to attend to health needs and resolve family issues. An employee-sponsored leave bank also boosts morale by allowing employees to help each other.
Employers that are considering the adoption of a leave bank/donation program should first determine employee interest in such a program and then consider the following issues:
Confidentiality. Whether the employer will identify the individuals receiving and donating the leave.
Rules for eligibility. Whether the leave may be used only for medical leave, or for bereavement, personal days, vacation, or even birthdays. Who will be eligible, e.g., only employees attending to family members. How requests for leave will be received and approved or rejected.
Method of donation. Whether employees may donate sick leave, vacation time, or both. Whether a maximum limit should be placed on the amount of leave donated.
FLSA. Requirements that exempt employees must take a full day off rather than only a few hours.
Leave calculations. Whether the leave will be “hour-for-hour,” regardless of pay scale or will be calculated by wage, and ensuring that recordkeeping accounts for leave under the FMLA.
The U.S Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division administers the FMLA. You may also want to visit the Department of Labor's website at http://www.dol.gov for information on the FMLA, the FLSA, and other federal labor laws administered by the Department.
Reviewed July 2015.
CT-WEB01
Copyright © 2017 Business & Legal Resources. All rights reserved. 800-727-5257
This document was published on http://Compensation.BLR.com
Document URL: http://compensation.blr.com/analysis/Leave-Benefits/Personal-Leave/