Q: I have a number of employees who really stepped up during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have already given bonuses to some, but we would also like to offer some additional PTO to help them deal with burnout. Recognizing that we may have staffing shortages during the ongoing pandemic, can we limit when they can take this new PTO?
A: Yes. Employers can decide to reward employees with additional PTO or other benefits. Because Iowa’s regulations relating to how PTO is accumulated and used are fairly open-ended, you can also limit the use of that PTO by written policies. The policies can limit the months of the year it can be taken, certain business conditions, and the fact that PTO is not paid out upon termination of employment. Be careful to be consistent in how you choose to make these rewards and have clear cut expectations to avoid concerns of favoritism or discrimination.
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