Leave Donation—Helping Workers Support Each Other

In the event of an emergency, an employee’s paid time off can run out quickly. A leave donation program allows employees to donate their paid leave time to a colleague who is dealing with a catastrophic illness or personal emergency, allowing the employee time to recover while still drawing a paycheck.

Leave Donation—Helping Workers Support Each Other

A new report released today by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, Paid Leave in the Workplace: 2017 Survey Results,found that:

  • 30% of employers offering paid vacation allow workers to donate paid vacation days
  • 28% of employers offering paid-time-off (PTO) plans allow workers to donate paid time off
  • 22% of employers who provide paid sick leave allow workers to donate sick leave.

Leave donation programs can build camaraderie among co-workers who are eager to help a colleague in need. The extra paid time off for employees can mean, not only a steady income, but that they are able to keep their jobs and, often equally as important, their health care benefits.

Some employers also allow employees to donate the cash value of unused paid time off to charitable organizations. A small percentage of employers—3% of those offering PTO and less than 1% of those offering vacation time—currently allow this practice. However, these types of charitable donation policies often emerge at an organization in response to national disasters so, given recent events, we may see this number rise. (In fact, the IRS has already provided guidance on the treatment of leave-based donation programs to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey.)

[Related: FMLA E-Learning Course]

To provide more flexibility, employers are offering several other options with paid time off. The report found that:

  • 83% allow hourly or salaried workers to carry over some or all unused PTO days
  • 74% allow hourly workers and 77% allow salaried workers to carry over some or all vacation days
  • 49% allow workers to take PTO advances
  • 38% allow workers to take vacation advances
  • 23% allow hourly workers and 21% allow salaried workers to sell back unused PTO days
  • 16% allow hourly workers and 14% allow salaried workers to sell back unused vacation days
  • 10% allow employees to purchase PTO
  • 8% allow employees to purchase paid vacation time.

Want to know more? Paid Leave in the Workplace: 2017 Survey Results examines all types of paid leave including PTO plans, vacation, sick leave, bereavement leave, parental leave and paid sabbaticals. Members can view the full report at www.ifebp.org/paidleave.

Brenda Hofmann
Senior Communications Associate at the International Foundation


Senior Communications Associate at the International Foundation

Favorite Foundation service/product: Today’s Headlines Benefits-related topics that grab her attention: Wellness, work/life balance, retirement security, unique perks, anything related to new mommas: maternity leave, pumping at work, on-site daycares, family friendly workplaces etc.​ Favorite Foundation event: The day we wait all year for–National Employee Benefits Day! Personal Insight: Brenda goes with the flow and this approach to life puts everyone around her at ease. Brenda enjoys the mix of roles she plays from public relations pro to new mom and wife.

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