Q: Some employees have asked if they can donate paid time off (PTO) to a coworker who's exhausted his time but needs more due to a personal crisis? Is allowing this advisable?

Call Mark Soycher at the HR Hotline: 860.244.1900.
Call Mark Soycher at the HR Hotline: 860.244.1900.

A: It's an admirable request, but in this case, it's best not to proceed by the seat of one's pants. One option is to establish guidelines and recordkeeping procedures for a PTO bank into which donated time is deposited. Doing so may aid in avoiding certain problems, including:

  • Uncomfortable situations arising from inappropriate solicitations or pressure to donate or grant PTO
  • Perceptions of favoritism or discrimination
  • Disagreements over the monetary value of time donated or granted. It's best to value time off in terms of hours or days rather than dollars.
  • Establishing limits on use, which is best done through a neutral policy rather than in response to individual circumstances
  • Coordinating with FMLA leave. If FMLA applies, you may need to track FMLA job-protected leave time (unpaid) separately from donated PTO (paid).
  • Clarifying tax consequences. Donated PTO is not an IRS-recognized "charitable" donation or reportable/taxable income to the donor, but it is taxable income to the recipient.