As Coloradans push their vacations back, some employers push for new PTO policies


DENVER (KDVR) – COVID-19 has been shifting vacation plans for months and now some employers are looking to shift their paid time off policies as a result of it.

“We were planning this trip for two years to go to London and we were planning on going and British Airways canceled our flight,” said Kara Henry.

Kara and her husband James wanted to celebrate their son’s senior graduation from Skyline High School in Longmont in a special way.

“And it all just fell apart – and when we couldn’t go to London it was devastating for all of us,” James Henry said.

It’s cancellations like the Henrys’ that are forcing a lot of people to reevaluate their vacation plans.

The human resources software company Zenefits tracks workers at roughly 3,000 companies.

It discovered only 63,000 requests were to submitted to take vacation in the April-May timeframe.

Rewind to the same time last year and about 120,000 requests had been submitted.

Stalling on vacation requests can be a headache for employees and their managers.

“I think there was a lot of fear and uncertainty,” said Todd Addleson.

Addleson is the founder and CEO of Insight Behavior Partnership in Englewood.

When COVID-19 started changing our lives, he decided to change his employees’ paid time off (PTO) policy to help.

“All of our leadership team came together and donated a large amount of PTO they had in their banks in order to make sure that our team members still got their normal amount of accrued PTO,” Addleson said.

Insight Behavior Partnership also implemented 10 days of emergency sick leave for its employees.

A new survey from the consulting firm Willis Towers Watson shows more employers are looking to follow suit.

According to the firm, 42% of firms have made or are planning changes to PTO, vacation and their sick day programs due to the coronavirus.

The company James Henry works for made sure all of its employees’ health would be taken care of.

“The biggest thing they did was say if anything happened with COVID they’d cover it 100%,” Henry said.

Experts expect additional businesses and companies to follow suit.

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