This time of year, employees that have accrued but not used paid time off (PTO) start asking if they have to “use it or lose it.” Some expect to receive a check as compensation for any paid time they cannot use. In Georgia, as at the federal level, there is no requirement for employers to provide paid vacation, sick leave or personal time off, let alone carry it over or pay it out.
As a result, the answer to questions about carrying over vacation or personal time—or being compensated for it—is, “It’s up to you, the employer.” While you certainly can offer carry-over or payout of earned time off, you do not have any obligation to do so.
We recommend that our clients have a clear, unambiguous policy about PTO and that they distribute it at the beginning of December to remind employees of their company’s approach. It’s easy to wrap it in with messages about how holiday leave will be handled, such as the protocol for requesting holidays off if you are open on those dates.