Management allows employees buy and sell holidays

Employees at a number of companies are allowed to buy and sell vacation time, a perk that gives workers more flexibility in managing their time off reports AP.

The novel approach would help employees buy some extra days off to take the trip they had been planning or  time with a newborn. Unused days could be sold off by co-workers to get some extra money.

According to Julie Stich, research director for the the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, when times were a little tight, the benefit really did not cost a lot of extra money to employers to provide. She added, it was offered by more forward thinking or flexible-type employers.

According to a soon-to-be released survey by the Society for Human Resource Management 9 per cent of employers allowed workers to cash out unused vacation time, while 5 per cent allowed employees buy additional vacation days through a payroll deduction.

An additional 7 per cent allowed donation of vacation time to a general pool that could be used by other workers.

The approach was even more popular with employers that had ''paid time off'' or PTO plans combining vacation time, sick leave and personal days into one comprehensive plan.

Around 52 per cent of employers reported offering such plans, with  19 per cent offering a cash-out option and 15 per cent offering a donation programe, and 1 per cent giving their workers unlimited time off.

The cost is usually one week's salary, pro rated over the course of the year. Employees often have to decide whether to participate during an annual fall enrollment process and it becomes part of their benefits for the upcoming year.

The new trend is catching on across offices across some states in the US with more people buying and selling vacation time.

Employees tell their boss how many days they need and if approved the cost of the extra days is deducted from the employee's paycheck, spread out over the year.

On the flip side, people who did not use all of their vacation days could sell them back to the company.

It was a perk that afforded workers more flexibility in managing their time off and one that they were grateful for.

According to one company that offered the perk, 50 per cent of its employees typically bought an extra week off as against 5 per cent of its employees that sold a week back to the company.