Switch to PTO nearly eliminates sick days

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The 350 employees who work for nine Monarch Bank branches in Chesapeake, Virginia Beach and Norfolk, Va., call in sick no more than a collective 10 days a year.

That wasn’t always the case. Until five years ago—when bank execs combined sick leave and vacation time into a use-it-for-anything paid-time-off (PTO) bank—each employee was far more likely to use all of his or her 10 paid sick days rather than forfeit them. Now that sick leave is lumped with vacation time, it’s rare for employees to call in unexpectedly saying they won’t be coming to work.

“If you know you have sick time and you don’t take it, that day just goes away,” says HR Director Mary Anderson. “The average person thinks he’s cheated out of 10 days if he doesn’t take it.”

Employees get the same amount of time as before, so the company isn’t saving money under the PTO system. But managers have far less aggravation because they’re not scrambling to fill empty teller windows at the last minute. PTO is arranged for in advance.

New Monarch employees start their jobs with 22 days in the bank—plus 10 federal holidays—and earn an additional two days a year every five years.

Contact: Mary Anderson at manderson@monarchbank.com.

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