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The Importance of Vacations

It’s June, the kids are out of school, the sun is shining brightly on warm weather days, and you are dreaming of a vacation! As you sit at your desk, looking at the mounds of work, you realize that you just don’t have time for a luxury like “vacation”. But, maybe that’s not true? Maybe staying behind the mound of work is actually doing more harm, than a week at the beach, or some other destination, could do?

sand vacation

Our nation of workaholics is experiencing a heavy load of burnout, and emotional and physical illness. When we don’t afford ourselves time to de-stress, un-plug, and get away; we run ourselves into the ground. This results in chronic stress, which is the driver of many diseases – insomnia, depression, obesity, and heart disease. Burnout, in turn, leads to loss in productivity and creativity; and if your productivity declines, you may be passed over for promotions, raises, or could even lose your job.

It is imperative that we allow ourselves the opportunity to disconnect in order to recharge our batteries. After all, when we are running at full speed on charged batteries, we are a much more productive workforce than when we are stressed and drained.

In the article “The Importance of Vacations, for Stress Relief, Productivity and Health,” Elizabeth Scott, M.S., addresses the value vacations can bring. Her seven reasons are as follows:

  1. Vacations Promote Creativity: A good vacation can help us to reconnect with ourselves; operating as a vehicle for self-discovery, and helping us get back to feeling our best.
  2. Vacations Stave Off Burn Out: Workers who take regular time to relax are less likely to experience burnout, making them more creative and productive than their overworked, under-rested counterparts.
  3. Vacations Can Keep Us Healthy: Taking regular time off to “recharge your batteries”, thereby keeping stress levels lower, can keep you healthier.
  4. Vacations Promote Overall Wellbeing: One study found that three days after a vacation, subjects’ physical complaints, their quality of sleep and mood had improved as compared to before vacation. These gains were still present five weeks later, especially in those who had more personal time and overall satisfaction during their vacations.
  5. Vacations Can Strengthen Bonds: Spending time enjoying life with loved ones can keep relationships strong, helping you enjoy the good times more and helping you through the stress of hard times. In fact, a study by the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services found that women who took vacations were more satisfied with their marriages.
  6. Vacations Can Help With Your Job Performance: As the authors of the above study suggest, the psychological benefits that come with more frequent vacations lead to increased quality of life, which can lead to increased quality of work on the job.
  7. Vacations Relieve Stress in Lasting Ways: It should come as no surprise that vacations that include plenty of free time bring stress relief, but research shows that a good vacation can lead to the experience of fewer stressful days at least five weeks later! That means that vacations are the gift to yourself that keep on giving.

So, go ahead and plan that vacation and take it! You and your company will be glad you did!

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Heard of “Summer Hours” Yet?

summer hours work on vacation

Click on the picture to learn more about HR Strategies!

As the temperature heats up and the sun shines bright… Are your employees really being productive? Or are they trapped at their cubicles longing to be at the pool, the lake, anywhere outside? Maybe the concept of “Summer Hours” could be the answer to both productivity and your employees’ needs to have some summertime fun. Nancy Mobley, discusses how “Summer hours can be a perk with more bang for your buck than more traditional employee benefits,” in her article Summer Hours: HR Policy Highlight, on inc.com. Read the article here…

http://ow.ly/lAKZN

Constructing and Revising Vacation Policies

This month we have blogged on the importance of vacations, working on vacations, the statistics of private industry employers offering vacation benefits, and the concept of flexible vacation policies.  Hopefully, these recent blog posts have you thinking not only of taking a vacation, but of your own companies’ vacation policy. Do you have one? Do you need to implement one? Do you need to review your current one? Below are a few more things to consider about your own vacation policy…

Vacation is a benefit, not a right. There are no Federal Laws requiring employers to offer vacation time to employees, nor does the State of Georgia require it. Most employees, however, will expect it to be offered in their benefits package, and therefore you must have a written policy to adhere to regarding the way your companies’ vacation benefit will work.

Most organizations use an accrual system, in which the employees accrue a certain amount of hours or days of vacation time per the amount of hours or days they have worked. The accrual system can be linked to years of service with the company and the level of their position. However, employees doing the same job with the same classification, must get the same amount of benefit.  A time and attendance system, such as our Time Tracker software, can help to track vacation hours accrued and vacation hours taken.  In addition, Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS), such as our Web Access, can also track time earned and taken.

Included in your vacation policy, you should consider designating times when vacation can be taken if your company has a “busy” or “peak” season, you could restrict those times from allowing vacation.  You may also, designate the amount of notice that must be given before an employee can take vacation time, and how much vacation time an employee may accrue without losing it.  The State of Georgia does allow you to implement a “Use it or Lose it” policy on accrued vacation time.  In addition, you may restrict vacation time to certain classes of employees, for example only full-time, regular.

The State of Georgia requires you to comply with your established policy or employment contract.  The State of Georgia allows an employer to lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract denying employees payment for accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment.  In other words, you need to make sure that your policy clearly states whether or not separated employees will be paid their accrued vacation at the time of separation, for the state will default to your written documents.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, in a 2004 benefits study the average vacation benefit accruals for private industry in the United States were:

  • One year of service  = 9 paid vacation days
  • Two years of service = 10 paid vacation days
  • Three-Four years of service = 12 paid vacation days
  • Five years of service = 14 paid vacation days
  • Six-Seven years of service = 15 paid vacation days
  • Eight-Nine years of service = 16 paid vacation days
  • Ten years of service = 17 paid vacation days
  • Eleven-Thirteen years of service = 18 paid vacation days
  • Fourteen-Fifteen years of service = 19 paid vacation days
  • Fifteen Plus years = 21 paid vacation days

These accrual rates are very different than in France, one of the world’s 5 largest economies, where the average vacation is 8 weeks across all years of service.

Be sure to contact our Client Service Representatives for additional help, when you are ready to write or revise your vacation policies!

Summer Hours = Fun for Employees + Productivity for Employers

As the temperature heats up and the sun shines bright… Are your employees really being productive? Or are they trapped at their cubicles longing to be at the pool, the lake, anywhere outside? Maybe the concept of “Summer Hours” could be the answer to both productivity and your employees’ needs to have some summertime fun. Nancy Mobley, discusses how “Summer hours can be a perk with more bang for your buck than more traditional employee benefits,” in her article Summer Hours: HR Policy Highlight, on inc.com. Read the article here…

http://www.inc.com/nancy-mobley/summer-hours-hr-policy-highlight.html

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