Specifically during the coronavirus crisis, employees are relying on the flexibility of their employers more than ever. The PTO Exchange platform offers employers three specific programs to help employees impacted by COVID-19: Leave-Sharing, Giving / Donations, and PTO Cash-Out.
And the best part: PTO Exchange can be offered as a voluntary benefit at little or no cost and risk to the employer.
Employees directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19 may find themselves running out of accrued leave (sick leave or unused vacation). To help extend the financial runway for employees, organizations are increasingly setting up PTO / leave-sharing programs. Any eligible employee can donate unused leave to an established “sharing pool” or leave bank. Employees who need more leave can formally request it through an established process.
COVID-19 was given Federal Emergency status effective 3/13/20, meaning that there are additional tax-friendly considerations. By donating to a COVID-19 sharing pool, there is no federal tax implication for the donating employee. Employees receiving donations will have this treated as wages for purposes of FICA, FUTA, and income tax withholding.
Leave-sharing is one aspect of our platform that can be turned on expeditiously, as quickly as 24 hours, if the need arises. Importantly, companies can also help support COVID-19 leave-sharing pools as well.
Employees can also quickly and easily donate unused PTO to over 1.2 million certified 501c(3) nonprofits. These include both local and national organizations providing relief today, such as United Way, International Red Cross, World Vision, and the Gates Foundation. Food Lifeline and local food banks and relief organizations are providing important services today at the local level. Employees can also donate to locate religious and community organizations.
Organizations in some cases have set up specific foundations to help with the coronavirus pandemic. For example, donations to the CDC Foundation fund testing, ventilators, and hospital beds across the country. Here's a list of top COVID-19 relief organizations.
Many employees experienced reduced paychecks while complying with shelter-in-place orders and other restrictions related to COVID-19. Coupled with this, they also find that they need to stock up on food, medicine and supplies, leading to a short-term cash crunch for many.
According to a Federal Reserve survey, almost 40% of Americans say they don’t have enough savings to cover an unexpected $400 expense. The quick fix in most cases? Relying on high-interest credit card debt or payday loans. And in the worst case, people dip into their 401(k) accounts to pay bills.
PTO Exchange offers a plan that lets employees access emergency funds from unused PTO or general leave. No need for high-interest loans or 401(k) withdrawals.