Experts Say Paid Time Off To Employees To Give Back Can Increase Productivity

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — More and more companies are paying their employees to help out a good cause.

Jasmyne McDonald, an operations specialist at CIGNA, recently told CBS 2’s Maurice Dubois that she used to volunteer but now gets paid by her employer to do charity work.

“It was really important for me to work for a company that allowed their employees to have paid time off to volunteer,” McDonald said.

McDonald’s company gives her and other employees eight hours of company time each year to do good deeds in the community. It’s a perk that a growing number of employers now offer. Some companies have started paying employees to volunteer for a week a year.

“Lots of young graduates are looking for places that they can give back that has not only a bottom line and is worried about the profit, but also that’s worried about, you know, how are we making a difference and changing the lives of people in the world,” McDonald said.

More companies than ever before are giving workers paid time to do charity work, according to a recent study. Analysts say that number is expected to keep growing.

“There’s a war for talent and one of the things that good people, great talented people are always looking for is a company that aligns with their commitment to the community,” explained Paul Sanford, VP of Operating Effectiveness at CIGNA.

Sanford said that giving employees time to volunteer can lead to improved performance in the office.

“I’ve seen employees that volunteer actually become more productive. I’ve actually seen that build team camaraderie,” Sanford said.

Michaels Stroik works for a non-profit that encourages companies to be more philanthropic. Stroik said programs that encourage employees to volunteer can cost as much as $2 million annually.

“No matter how large the company is this is a significant line item in terms of the compensation costs,” Stroik said.

Every year the Society for Human Resource Management surveys employers about the benefits that they offer. In 2012 about 20 percent said that they give their workers a bank of paid time off specifically designated for volunteering. That number was up from 15 percent in 2009, Dubois reported.

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