Managing paid time off (PTO) and unpaid time off is an essential part of running any dental, optometry, veterinary, or other medical practice. Your employees work hard to make your practice a success, so it’s important to create a good culture for them and offer paid time off benefits. If your employees feel rewarded and taken care of, they will strive to give your patients attentive care. It’s important to keep track of PTO and PTO benefits to help motivate your team to do their best.
What Exactly Does “Paid Time Off” Mean?
Before you understand the best way to track time, it’s essential to understand what paid time off means in your healthcare practice. Paid time off (PTO) is the accumulated time your employees can take off from work while still getting their regular wages. PTO can combine vacation, sick time, and personal days. This PTO "bank" collects PTO types, usually sick and vacation time.
Types of PTO
PTO accrual is the time off employees have earned over time, usually measured in hours, days, weeks, or months worked. It can also be provided as a lump sum. Paid time off accrual software, such as that of HR for Health, can help you keep track of how much time employees accrue and you have visibility to accrual balances at any point.
Lump Sum PTO
Employees can also earn PTO as a lump sum. Lump sum PTO works when the employer gives employees a set number of hours up front that they can use throughout the benefit year, and unused hours may roll over, be paid out or forfeited (if your state allows) on a specific date. The expiration or rollover date in some companies is January 1, or employers set the date based on the employee's hire date, as HR for Health recommends. Lump sum PTO can be a set amount for all practice employees or based on years of employee service. This is measured differently in PTO software, from paid time off accrual as an annual amount.
Differences Between Unpaid Time Off and PTO
Unpaid time off is where employees do not get compensation for the days they miss from work. This may include state-specific provisions around leaves of absence such as military leave, unpaid personal time off, vacation time employees take beyond their paid vacation days, and medical leave.
PTO Tracking Benefits
A time off tracker has benefits for employers and employees. For example, a time off tracker can reduce unscheduled absences employees would otherwise take as sick days or as vacation time. Scheduled PTO days help employers manage their practice teams more efficiently. If an employer can see how many employees have PTO, the employer can more effectively plan for these absences.
Other administrative benefits are also highly important and relevant. For example, a PTO tracker — like the one offered by HR for Health — can reduce questions that employees may have regarding their PTO balances, as they can easily locate this information. This can all be done via our robust timekeeping feature.
Time Tracking Competitive Advantages
A time keeping tracker gives practices a competitive advantage. The advantage is attracting quality employees. PTO and tracking PTO can influence a potential employee’s decision to join your practice. A PTO benefits plan is also useful in retaining current employees. Employees who feel valued with PTO benefits may be more likely to remain with your practice. Furthermore, our software tracks the type of leave that an employee takes, ensuring it can be properly categorized. This ensures that your employees always know how much time they have available to them, thus keeping them informed and happy.
Lower Administrative Costs
When your human resources department has to spend time tracking sick and vacation leave separately, this can waste a lot of time. With separate leave categories, someone in human resources needs to validate each employee’s time. This tracker streamlines the process and frees human resources' time.
Keep in mind that some forms of time keeping software require extensive maintenance and administration. Our software is designed to be self-maintaining, allowing you to focus your energy and efforts on what matters for your practice. We can help you set up the benefits and change them on an as-needed basis. However, by and large, this requires minimal input, maintenance, and upkeep. This allows you to concentrate on managing your practice and leave the difficult task of tracking time off in the hands of our software.
Less Financial Liability
Along with streamlining human resources processes, a time keeping tracker can be useful for employers who need to manage their teams. When vacation time rolls over from one year to the next, employers can lose employee hours from the accumulated time if your benefits tracking system is not accurate. HR for Health’s benefits tracking feature is not only accurate- we make sure to review if it’s compliant or merits a review/update..
Written Time Tracking Policies
If you offer your employees PTO, you should create company policies to provide your employees guidelines about leave. These guidelines should explain how employees can accrue time off, rates of accrual, and time off eligibility requirements. You also need a tracking system to schedule PTO. Time tracking devices include the following examples below.
Using a spreadsheet is inexpensive, but time-consuming. You need to manually enter the data along with appropriate formulas. While this may work for a small practice, spreadsheets can impede progress in your practice by using too much of your time.
PTO Tracking Software
PTO tracking software is less time-consuming. As a standalone system, PTO tracking software can monitor vacation and sick time. The software can create and print customized reports. Time off software applications often have a self-service portal. Employees can submit vacation and sick leave requests with the software, and managers can see and approve pending time-off requests. The downside of simple time-off tracking software is that these applications don't include payroll and human resources information. Unlike paid time off accrual software, simple time tracking software doesn’t show accrued time. A lack of integration with other apps and/or programs may mean less efficiency. HR for Health’s software can integrate your benefits tracking with payroll processing, no sweat.
What Is the Best Way to Track Time?
Of the two choices of spreadsheet and time tracking, PTO tracking software may seem the logical choice. Certainly, electronic tracking makes the timekeeping process easier for healthcare practitioners, including those with a veterinary practice, physical therapy office, or dental practice. This accuracy is still not enough for a growing practice. With HR for Health software, for example, each entry is date/time stamped. This protects you from claims of inaccurate timekeeping and wages.
Customizable Time Off Tracker
Another issue for time tracking is if an employer can customize the software.
You may need not only a paid time off tracker, but also sick, vacation, pregnancy, and disability pay tracking. Many practices have legacy benefits or special benefits that apply to a small number of employees. Our software can accommodate different benefits and categorize leaves accurately and with specificity. HR for Health can also help you with the additional documentation for your unique benefit policies. You can electronically send these to only the employees to whom the benefits apply.
Eliminate Issues and Inaccuracies in Time Keeping
One benefit of HR for Health's time off tracking system is the elimination of time keeping errors. When employees edit their timesheets, they trigger a notification by the software so that you can approve or deny the edit. This makes it easy for practices to be aware of all hours worked. There also exists a watchdog daily report that shares the overtime hours employees incur. Our software gives clients’ employees the same visibility to their PTO records.
Manage All Aspects of Payroll in One Spot
Our timekeeping software offers payroll as an added service that takes only a few clicks to process and be done with payroll. We also ensure this required information is included in your pay stubs. State-specific requirements are also accounted for with our payroll processing.
Give Employees Insight Into Their PTO Accrual
Our software which tracks paid time off accrual, can give your practice employees insight into their PTO accrual in one spot. A few clicks can give them information about how much time they have accrued.
Automate With PTO Tracking Software
Our software automatically calculates PTO as your employees work. The software allows employees to request leave and send for approval.
How HR for Health Can Help
Not all time keeping trackers are equal. HR for Health is the leader in all-in-one HR solutions for practices. We combine systems for tracking benefits and the knowledge and expertise to support practices in policy creation. Our Time Tracking tool can help track not only PTO/vacation/sick leave, but also other leaves of absence, including unpaid leaves. Examples include FMLA/CFRA/ADA leaves and bereavement leave. We help practices with both policy creation and benefits tracking with our time off tracker.