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How Does Remote Work Impact PTO and Leave Policies?

How Does Remote Work Impact PTO and Leave Policies?

Remote work was already a growing trend before COVID-19 took it from optional to mandatory in many businesses. While the global pandemic accelerated that growth, according to Small Business Trends, it is estimated that 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely by the year 2025.

Shifting from in-person to remote work can be a huge adjustment for any company, but especially for the HR department. While looking at the company’s current policies, remote workers now need to be taken more into account as HR navigates how the company will run when a lot of its employees are working from anywhere.

One area that has changed with the growth in remote work is paid time off (PTO) and leave policies. In this article, we will explore some of the best things you can do to navigate the changing world of PTO and leave when it comes to remote workers.


Create Your Policy

One of the benefits of remote work is that it offers more flexibility than a traditional report-to-the-office position. However, that doesn’t mean your remote workers will never need to shut down and take time away from work for personal reasons. Therefore, look at your current PTO and leave policy and make sure it adequately addresses remote and in-person employees evenly. 

Some considerations you should make when creating your policy include:

  • How much PTO should each employee get?
  • How is it accrued?
  • Does PTO roll over each year?
  • How should employees request PTO?
  • What responsibilities for coverage do employees have when taking PTO?


Take this time to examine your current leave policy and make necessary changes to ensure it is addressing the unique needs of all your employees.


Communicate Your Policy Clearly

Once you revisit and tweak your policy to include remote workers, you need to make sure the policy is also revisited by all of your employees. Don’t just announce that changes have been made, but create a way for employees to be accountable for reviewing the policy and acknowledging that they are aware of the changes. 

For new employees, make sure part of their onboarding process is reviewing the employee handbook where you should make sure the updated policy is written.


Apply Your Policy Consistently

Having part of your workforce reporting remotely can blur the lines between taking leave and working a little. When an in-person employee is gone, it’s more obvious that they are not reporting and will not be doing work-related activities that day.

However, when someone is at home and on leave, it’s important to also expect work to be addressed at a later time even if they are remote. Despite being out of the office, they still are entitled to time to shut down the laptop and address personal issues.


Provide Systems of Accountability

One area most companies new to remote work struggle with is how to hold employees accountable for their time and their time off. 

There are a lot of affordable technologies available that will assist you with automating timekeeping and PTO tracking. These programs allow employees to request time off, have the request approved by managers and keep track of accruals and deductions as time is earned and used. This allows managers to make sure that all employees are getting the correct amount of PTO as well as equal amounts to their colleagues no matter how they report to work.


Complete Payroll has the affordable platform you’ve been looking for to track PTO, manage PTO requests, and accomplish any other HR duty that needs an automated solution. Contact one of our team members today to discuss how Complete Payroll can help manage all of your employees that much easier.

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