With the movement from traditional paid leave plans to paid time off banks, many employers may wonder if the switch is effective in managing employee absences. Nearly one in five employees in the United States receive leave in the form of a PTO bank, but the contours of such policies are often little understood — especially outside of the human resources community, according to a new study out by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and CLASP, a nonprofit that works to improve the economic security of low-income families.

Among employees with paid leave, lower-wage employees are less likely to have access to a PTO bank than a traditional paid vacation system. Fifty-one percent of employees in the lowest average wage quartile have access to any vacation time, and only 9% of the lowest wage employees have access to a PTO bank. While  89% of employees in the highest wage quartile have access to vacation time and 28% have access to a PTO bank. Similarly, part-time employees are less likely to have a PTO bank with 9% of part-time employees have access to a PTO bank, as compared to 23% of full-time employees.

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