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Template: Updated PTO Policy Employee Communication

Template: Updated PTO Policy Employee Communication

A PTO audit is an essential part of ongoing HR compliance. Clearly communicating updates to time-off policies is an important part of that process. Use the following template to deliver vacation policy updates to your employees.

Note: This article has been updated to reflect the impact of PTO on a post-pandemic environment.


How to Communicate a PTO Policy Change to Employees

PTO policies require regular review for companies to remain competitive, compliant, and financially solvent. How you communicate an update to an existing time-off policy is especially important to maintain employee morale and engagement. Transparency can go a long way in this messaging. 

Include the following information in your communication:

  1. Explain the Reason for the Audit: Employees may be frustrated with the change (i.e. “losing” their accrued PTO), but they’ll appreciate the transparency when updates are made. 
  2. Detail the Updates: Between capping rollover amounts and switching completely to an unlimited model, HR should include exactly what’s changed and why. 
  3. How the Policy Impacts Hourly vs. Salaried Workers: Depending on the policy, changes may affect one group of workers and not the other. Any communication from HR should be specific to limit confusion. 
  4. Display the Policy: PTO is there for employees to use, so they should be able to access the policy at any time. This provides even more transparency between HR and employees. 
  5. Start Date: Whether immediate or down-the-road, employees need to know when to expect changes to take place.
  6. Anticipated FAQs: HR should stay ahead of the curve with pre-generated responses to expected questions that employees may ask when the policy is announced.


Post Pandemic Changes to PTO and Vacation

One of the most significant changes prompted by the pandemic was a shift in work environment, as many businesses made the move from an office environment to a work-from-home environment. It is clear that many businesses who may once have shown apprehension, are now much more accepting of such a transition. However, with this level of transition comes the need to adapt and evolve. 

According to SHRM, employees have taken less vacation time during the pandemic, however this was somewhat alleviated by the benefits of remote work. As businesses evaluate these new work-from-home or hybrid policies, they must also evaluate their PTO policies. It is crucial that organizations effectively communicate all changes in policy to their employees. 

Studies on unused PTO show that employees who take more time off are more effective with their time. It is therefore advantageous for employers to communicate PTO and holiday policies to their employees effectively, as maintaining a positive company culture relies on employee satisfaction. Be sure to utilize these communication tips when promoting these policy changes, so that employees are both aware of the changes and more willing to utilize these benefits. 


Template: Employee PTO Policy Update Communication

Use the following template when communicating an update to your company’s PTO policy:


I’m reaching out today regarding an update to [Company]’s PTO policy. HR audited the team’s time-off benefits and updated the plan with a new policy that will help keep our organization financially healthy—now and in the future. 

With this in mind, beginning [date], we’ll implement the following changes to our PTO policy: 

  1. PTO will be available to exempt and non-exempt employees
  2. Employees receive their allotted PTO at the beginning of the calendar year
  3. All PTO requests and approvals will be tracked using [system
  4. PTO allotments are as follows:
    1. 0-5 years of service – [days] PTO days each year for exempt employees; [days] PTO days each year for nonexempt employees
    2. 6-10 years of service – [days] PTO days each year for exempt employees; [days] PTO days each year for nonexempt employees
    3. 10+ years of service – [days] PTO days each year for exempt employees; [days] PTO days each year for nonexempt employees
  5. PTO requests may not be approved during [quarter], which is our busiest time of the year; we encourage employees to work with their managers to identify appropriate periods for time-off during this time
  6. Employees may roll over up to five days of unused PTO from one year to another; any unused PTO exceeding five days is forfeited at the beginning of the new calendar year

[Company] expects some employees may have questions about the new policy. HR produced a set of anticipated FAQs—available here [link]—that should address any concerns you may have. 

If you have any additional questions about the PTO policy, please contact [contact information]. 

Thank you as always for your commitment to our team. 


Audit PTO Policy

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