Some Companies Appreciate The Boost In Morale That Comes With The Option

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Are you dreaming of a trip to the islands, but are out of vacation days? Or are you so busy at work you can’t even take an hour off?

Well, what if you could buy or sell your vacation days? Some say it’s a win-win that’s becoming popular with many companies, CBS 2’s Dana Tyler reported Monday.

Jeffe Kennedy and her husband love all kinds of getaways, from fun in the sun to sightseeing to shopping for local artwork to fill their home.

“I run out of vacation time every year,” Kennedy said.

But that’s no problem, since Kennedy’s company offers a buy-sell vacation program that allows her to purchase an extra week of time every year

‘It’s absolutely worth it to me to pay out of pocket for the extra time off,” Kennedy said.

The average American worker receives about two and a half weeks of vacation time each year. That’s not enough for some, too much for others.

But with buy-sell programs, everyone gets what they need, according to Julie Stich, an employee benefits expert.

“I think employees like the flexibility of being able to decide how many days they want to take off,” Stich said.

A recent survey found 14 percent of companies now allow employees to buy or sell their vacation days, through payroll deductions or credits.

Building materials manufacturer USG Corp. offers both options. Managers said it’s a great way to build employee morale.

“We get very, very positive feedback about vacation buy and sell. Flexibility in terms of how people work, where they work. When they work is very important to employees today,” a USG Corp. rep said.

Other businesses offer the chance to donate to fellow workers in need. Another employee who may be suffering a personal crisis can tap that pool and have additional time off.

As for Kennedy, she already has big plans for her extra vacation this year — an extended trip to Ireland.

“It’s not much point in making the money if you can’t use it to do something really interesting,” she said.

When employees sell their unused vacation days, they receive an extra paycheck. However, companies can also offer the option to contribute the cash to their 401K plan instead.

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