One of the most common benefits that household employers offer their nanny or other employee is paid time off. This can be in the form of sick time, vacation time or PTO (Paid Time Off). Sick time is to be used in case the employee is ill or must care for an ill loved one, and vacation time is for the employee to simply take time away from work. But what is the difference between sick or vacation time and PTO?
Vacation policies are intended to be used for the specific purpose of vacation or leisure time, and employers who offer vacation time generally offer sick leave as well. The alternative to having two separate benefits is a singular PTO benefit, which may be used for any purpose the employee chooses.
Some states consider vacation and PTO (but not sick leave) to be accrued wages. Consequently, those states require payout of unused vacation and PTO at termination and have rules limiting use-it-or-lose-it policies. In New York, whether an employer must pay for unused time depends upon the terms of the vacation and/or resignation policy. So when you create a policy to offer vacation or PTO as a benefit to your nanny, you must decide whether the nanny will be paid for any unused vacation time or PTO hours should they leave the job.
While New York does not yet have a state law that require employers to offer paid sick leave, it is a national trend and such a law may come to New York soon. Should a paid sick leave law be enacted here and you decide to offer a PTO plan instead of paid sick leave, it is critical that you ensure the plan meets all the requirements of the mandatory sick leave law or ordinance. What household employers do need to abide by in New York is the state’s Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, which guarantees domestic workers at least three days of paid rest each year after one year of work for the same employer.
Regardless of which benefits you choose to offer, you’ll want to make sure they are clearly articulated in writing and that your employee(s) are made aware of what is available and how the policy or policies operate.
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