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The Backlash of Mandatory Vacation Time for Employees

In most cases, we love vacations. Vacation means fun, relaxation, and a chance to unwind. It also means something that most of us cherish: Time away from the office! 

However, mandatory vacation time isn't ideal for all. Sometimes - be it due to concerns over money, lost time, or efforts to bank time - employees will try not to take their annual vacation time. This can become a huge and expensive problem for many dental, optometry, and veterinary practices. As a result, some practices, depending on the state, have looked into mandatory vacation time, which requires that employees take their vacation over a set period or risk losing it. While this may work for a practice's management, it might create problems with employees, and compliance may also be an issue if you implement a “use it or lose it” policy in a state that does not allow it. It is for these reasons you must make sure you appropriately manage any mandatory vacation time. 

Why Implementing Mandatory Vacation Time Has Become Increasingly Popular Amongst Employers

There are a variety of reasons that many healthcare offices and practices have chosen to implement mandatory vacation time. Here are a few examples:

  • It's often better for the employee! Mandatory vacation time can force employees to get out of the office, recharge their batteries, and avoid burnout. 
  • It can increase safety in the workplace, as a burnt-out worker is a potentially dangerous one. 
  • Failure to do so can potentially get expensive: If a practice allows for unlimited banking of vacation days, you may be in for a massive lump sum payment when someone does ultimately leave your practice. 

If dental, optometry, or veterinary practices pursue this, they must do so with careful attention to detail with the policy. Handbook policies should lay out the details around the mandatory nature of the vacation time, including how it is handled and what happens if vacation days are ultimately not accrued.  Also consider any special provisions specific to your state.

Recommended Reading

2022 Employee Handbook Updates

Issues With Mandatory Vacation Time

If you want to create a mandatory vacation policy, keep a few things in mind.

First, you must communicate this policy with your employees, as employee resistance may come up if they are unaware of a mandatory use policy. Document each time you clarify this policy with software like HR for Health. They are easily retrievable if you ever need to go back and find that proof of communication. You can always have an employee sign a statement, acknowledging that they will lose their vacation time if they don't use it. This removes any question about whether or not you have properly communicated your mandatory vacation time policy with your employees. 


The Backlash of Mandatory Vacation Time for Employees

Second, make sure that any mandatory vacation time policy doesn't conflict with other contractual obligations or state or local laws. You should have an HR expert - like HR for Health - or an attorney review all of your contracts and confirm no potential conflicts.

Third, make sure you set a policy that requires how much notice your employees have to give you before taking their vacation. This gives you a chance to plan for absences and appropriately adjust your staffing schedule.

Fourth, make sure to notify your employees about when they are near losing their accrued time. This is something that HR or Health's time-keeping software can help you manage. Automating these notifications can make your life much easier, as it can be a hassle for the practice to be on top of employees every year to utilize their vacation time.

Legal Considerations

As noted above, it is vital that you appropriately communicate any mandatory vacation time with your employees and record any notification you have given them about such policies. You must also ensure that any approach aligns with relevant state and federal law and that you appropriately track all time off. Fortunately, HR for Health's time-keeping software can help you manage this process.

Lastly, if taking time off requires overtime from other employees, you must appropriately track their time and pay them according to all required state and federal laws. 

Will Businesses Continue to Require Mandatory Vacation Time? 

It certainly seems that way. Many articles have noted that mandatory vacation time is becoming more popular. Interestingly, it appears that the impetus for

christin-hume-Hcfwew744z4-unsplash such policy changes is not financial on the end of a business or a practice. Instead, it is necessary to protect employees

employees against burnout and ensure that they don't overwork themselves. The need to protect against burnout has become more apparent in many industries, and perhaps nowhere more than in healthcare medical and medical-related practices. You can potentially consider a rollover of unused hours up to a certain cap as an alternative.


What Does Your Practice Need to Consider for Mandatory Vacation Time? 

At the end of the day, a mandatory vacation time requirement can benefit your dental, optometry, or veterinary practice. However, you need to make sure you properly communicate the policy with your employees, store any documents that show you have done so, and maintain all paperwork acknowledging that the employee is aware of the policy. You should also automate reminders about the policy to your employee, ensuring that they don't lose their hard-earned time.  

How HR for Health Can Help

There are many reasons that mandatory vacation time may be appropriate for your practice, but implementing it is not as simple as snapping your fingers and making this policy a reality. It requires planning, communication, and document storage to ensure that you are doing it right. Fortunately, HR for Health can help you with all of these facets, managing the implementation and administration of these policies.

Want more information on how HR for Health can help your practice grow? Contact us today to schedule a no-obligation demo.

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