High impact policy

Paid Time Off and Leave

Access to PTO or Paid Leave to Care for Others

Issue: Most low-wage workers, especially part-time workers, don’t have access to paid time off—making it difficult to manage sickness and care giving responsibilities without having a negative impact on finances.

Possible Solution: Extend paid time off to all employees and permit workers to use their sick days or PTO to care for loved ones, rather than restricting it to personal or sick time.

90 Day Probationary Period

Issue: Some employers don’t allow new employees to take time off in the first 90 days of employment. This policy has been used to measure an employee’s commitment to the new job.

Possible Solution: Allow workers to use earned time off or sick days during the 90-day probationary period without penalty. If possible, remove the 90 day probationary period altogether.

Full Day PTO

Issue: In many cases, low-wage workers have to use a full day of PTO in order to take their children to a doctor’s appointment or to meet with their social worker to renew their benefits.

Possible Solution: Allow for PTO to be taken in increments of two or four hours, so employees can schedule appointments without missing a full day of work.

"EY provides personnel with paid vacation hours and encourages individuals to use their accrued vacation time each year. Vacation hours are allocated on an annual basis and are based on each employee's level/rank. The ability to use vacation time on an hourly basis, versus days, provides employees with flexibility in how they use the vacation time."

Company Policy | EY

Requiring a Doctor’s Note for Illness

Issue: Obtaining a doctor’s note for a cold or short-duration illness can be costly, particularly for those who lack health insurance or have high co-pays.

Possible Solution: Don’t require a doctor’s note for an absence of less than three days.

Access to Parental & Disability Leave Programs

Issue: Lower-wage employees who give birth often return to work well before the recommended six- to eight-week recovery time. Often, low-wage workers do not have access to wage protection programs like Short-Term Disability or enough PTO to continue receiving pay during their recovery period. Even when employees do have access to Short-Term Disability, they receive only 60% of their wages, which may be insufficient to support their family. If employees choose to use their PTO to cover their recovery time, they deplete their banks and have no time saved for when they return to work.

Possible Solutions: Consider providing employer-paid Short-Term Disability or providing employees with access to voluntary employee-paid Short-Term Disability, through payroll deductions. Alternatively, provide paid maternity leave for six to twelve weeks, so employees are not harmed financially and retain their PTO banks for when they return to work. They will need that time to care for sick children or elders, go to doctor’s visits, etc.

“In our efforts to improve Employee Total Well-Being, we want our policies to reflect the value we see/feel in our employees.  We have determined that while our previous Parental Leave policies met the standards of what is typically offered by employers, it was still not enough.  Now, child-bearing employees receive up to twelve weeks of paid maternity leave through a combination of Short-Term disability and Zoo-provided maternity leave.  And non-childbearing employees will receive up to 80 hours of paid leave, starting from the time of birth, adoption placement, etc.”

Jeff Walton Human Resources Director | Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden