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Do your leave benefits entice employees to stay?

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in Employee Benefits Program,FMLA Guidelines,HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Issue: Are your employee-leave policies too stingy, too generous or just right?

Benefit: Knowing how your organization compares to others helps you attract and retain top employees.

Action: Review the following numbers to help formulate a leave-benefits "extreme makeover" proposal to the top brass.

If your benefits plan, and, specifically, your leave benefits, have been running on autopilot for the past few years, it's time to grab the controls and review whether those perks still keep you competitive.

Your best benchmark: the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2004 Benefits Survey Report.

The report says paid holidays are the most common leave benefit, with 99 percent of employers offering them. Also, 34 percent offer "floating holidays," which employees can use for holidays not normally covered. Fifteen percent let employees "swap" holidays or work on a paid holiday in exchange for taking another day off.

Paid jury duty (offered by 92 percent) is also a popular perk, as is long-term disability (84 percent) and short-term disability (82 percent). Not surprisingly, the biggest organizations offer the best benefits.

Other highlights:

Paid time-off (PTO) plans. Twenty-nine percent of organizations offer PTO plans that let employees lump vacation, sick and personal leave into one bank of paid days off that they can use however they want. And 80 percent of those employers let employees roll over at least some of their unused PTO leave to the following year.

Paid vacation. Among organizations that offer paid vacation plans (rather than a PTO plan), the average number of paid vacation days for new employees is nine days; 14 days for employees with five years of service; 17 days for 10 years of service; and 19 days for 15 years of service. Also, 64 percent of organizations with paid vacation plans let employees roll over at least some of their unused vacation days.

Bereavement leave. The survey says 88 percent offer paid bereavement leave to employees who lose immediate family members, while 60 percent offer it for other relatives and 5 percent for friends.

Sick leave. While a few employers offer unlimited sick leave or base the number of days on seniority, the survey says organizations offer an average 11 days a year for sick leave. More than half (52 percent) let em-ployees carry some or all into the next year.

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