How to Track PTO and Why It’s Important

Most companies offer paid sick leave, paid vacation days, and paid holidays, as well as required leaves under FMLA and other federal or state laws. Paid Time Off (PTO) is a great benefit that helps employers attract and retain employees. One of the hallmarks of a great offer to a potential new hire includes flexible (and additional) PTO, as well as other incentives beyond just offering them more money.

However, the ability to track and keep up with PTO has long been stuck in ineffective methods of memory recall, passing hallway conversations, Excel spreadsheets, post-it notes, or communicating it in the middle of long email threads. And while most employees don’t mind a little “slip” here and there, with a few extra days of PTO each year, untracked PTO can add up quickly and cost your company money. In fact, there are estimates that, on average, three untracked PTO days are taken every year by each employee. If you assume an average salary of $1,000 per week per employee, that’s an extra $600 per employee per year that your company pays out.

In addition to the direct costs incurred by untracked PTO, the indirect costs – project delays and overtime for other salaried employees who must spend extra time covering for absent employees – can be substantial.

Paid sick leave laws pose a compliance challenge to employers. While the legislative framework for sick leave laws tends to be similar, each law differs with respect to the application of these requirements which, in turn, poses unique challenges for multistate and multi-city employers. For example, employers may need to identify specific business needs and evaluate the laws that apply to their employees to determine if they can maintain one PTO policy to govern all employees across various jurisdictions, or if they will need to maintain a sick leave policy separate from and in addition to their PTO policy. As long as you’re compliant, the most effective way to track and manage your company is to have a simple policy that only offers paid holidays and PTO, or you can also just offer PTO.

Tracking PTO effectively helps companies and managers make better scheduling decisions and reduce conflicts between project demands and employee time off requests. Managers need to know, in advance, who has scheduled time off so they can plan accordingly, and they also need visibility to the upcoming schedule in order to compare pending time off requests against project schedules so that key project milestones are reached and objectives are met as planned. Managers also need to know about any changes to existing schedules, when there is unexpected PTO, or when an employee cancels an approved PTO event.

But what’s the most effective way to track and maintain PTO for every employee across your company?

It’s time to ditch the post-it-notes and the last second reminders passing in the hallway of, “Oh, hey, I’m off tomorrow.” Today’s HR technology offers effective cloud-based solutions that include multiple, seamlessly integrated components that provide managers with the visibility they need to make informed PTO approvals and intelligent project staffing decisions.

An effective PTO tracking solution is customizable, allowing your company to define rules for different PTO types based on your company’s policies. It supports different accrual methods without forcing HR into managing balances outside the system, or having to create yet another process outside of the cloud-based solution. It will also help you define the rules as new legislation rolls out, assuring regulatory compliance.

An effective digital system is going to provide you an efficient and simple-to-use solution to help you maintain accuracy and compliance with company PTO policies, as well as saving your business money, while maximizing productivity of your staff. We believe that our Xenqu platform is THE solution for mandatory PTO and sick time tracking, in addition to many other HR facets.

Contact us today to demo the many solutions we offer within our Xenqu HR platform.