5 Often-Overlooked Time-Off Benefits
Below are five types of employee leave that sometimes fly under employers’ radar.
1. Bereavement leave
Bereavement leave lets employees take time off to mourn the loss of a loved one — usually an immediate family member or a close relative. Employees can use the time off to handle post-death activities such as funeral preparations and to grieve.
Federal law and most states do not require bereavement leave. One exception is the state of Oregon, which mandates that employers with 25 or more employees must offer unpaid bereavement leave to qualifying employees.
2. Voting leave
Voting leave permits employees to take time off from work to vote in an election. Although federal law does not require that you give employees time off to vote, many states do. In some states, voting time must be paid; in others, it can be unpaid. Before you refuse an employee’s request for time off to vote, see what your state has to say about the issue.
3. Leave for victims of violence
This type of leave is given to employees (or eligible family members) who experience domestic violence, sexual violence, abuse or stalking.
Victims may be entitled to leave under the Family Medical and Leave Act. Further, some states require employers to provide time off for victims to obtain medical treatment, psychological counseling and other related services. Depending on the state, the leave may need to be paid.
4. Floating holidays
These are paid holidays that employees can take for personal reasons, without having to dip into their allotted paid time off. Usually, employees take floating holidays to celebrate religious or cultural events that are not federally recognized. Employers are not required by law to offer floating holidays.
5. Comp time for extra hours worked
Comp time is the practice of letting employees take time off for extra hours worked, instead of paying them overtime.
The first thing to know about comp time is that it’s illegal under the Fair Labor Standards Act if the employee is nonexempt. Per the FLSA, private-sector nonexempt employees must receive overtime pay for overtime hours worked; comp time cannot be used as a substitute. Most states adopt this rule.
However, private-sector salaried employees who are exempt from overtime under the FLSA can legally receive comp time. For example, employers wanting to reward salaried-exempt employees for working long hours may offer comp time as a form of additional compensation.
Employers are not legally required to provide comp time to salaried-exempt employees. If you choose to offer comp time to these workers, make sure you have a consistent policy that addresses comp time, including how and when it will be given.