For Immediate Release
September 12, 2017


Nearly One-Third of Employers Offer Vacation Time Donation

Policies Allow Employees to Donate Time Off to Colleagues in Need or to Charitable Organizations

Brookfield, Wisconsin—In the event of an emergency, an employee's paid time off can run out quickly. A leave donation program allows employees to donate their paid leave time to a colleague who is dealing with a catastrophic illness or personal emergency, allowing the employee time to recover while still drawing a paycheck.

A new report Paid Leave in the Workplace: 2017 Survey Results, released today by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, found that:

  • 30% of employers with paid vacation allow workers to donate paid vacation days.
  • 28% of employers offering paid-time-off (PTO) plans allow workers to donate paid time off.
  • 22% of employers who provide paid sick leave allow workers to donate sick leave.

"Leave donation programs can build camaraderie among co-workers who are eager to help a colleague in need," explained Julie Stich, CEBS, associate vice president of content at the International Foundation. "Leave donation allows an employee extra time to handle a personal emergency, keeping them employed and allowing them to continue on the payroll and enrolled in health care benefits. It can also benefit an employer by reducing turnover and productivity losses."

A small percentage of employers, 3% of those offering PTO and less than 1% of those offering vacation time, allow employees to donate the cash value of unused paid time off to charitable organizations. Employers often consider these types of charitable donation policies in response to national disasters such as the recent Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

Employers are offering other options for flexibility in paid leave, including carrying over days to future years and buy/sell options.

  • 83% allow some or all unused PTO days to be carried over for hourly or salaried workers.
  • 74% allow hourly workers, and 77% allow salaried workers, to carry over some or all vacation days.
  • 49% allow workers to take PTO advances.
  • 38% allow workers to take vacation advances.
  • 23% allow hourly workers, and 21% allow salaried workers, to sell back unused PTO days.
  • 16% allow hourly workers, and 14% allow salaried workers, to sell back unused vacation days
  • 10% allow employees to purchase PTO.
  • 8% allow employees to purchase paid vacation time.

The report found that 34% of employers offer a PTO system to their workers instead of separate banks for vacation, personal and sick time. Employers state they offer PTO plans to provide greater flexibility to workers (76%), followed by empowering workers (41%) and controlling unscheduled absences (32%).

About the Report

Paid Leave in the Workplace: 2017 Survey Results surveyed 497 organizations from the databases of the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans and International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS). The respondents represent corporations and public employers/government entities across the United States.

The report examines all types of paid leave including PTO plans, vacation, sick leave, bereavement leave, parental leave and paid sabbaticals. To view the full report, visit


The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans is the premier educational organization dedicated to providing the diverse employee benefits community with objective, solution-oriented education, research and information to ensure the health and financial security of plan beneficiaries worldwide. The Foundation has more than 33,000 multiemployer, corporate and public sector members representing over 25 million lives. For additional information, visit