Have you considered a program that aids employees when they have incurred a crisis or catastrophic event in their lives and do not have the resources to handle it? Putting a plan in place that can provide assistance is an excellent way to let your employees know you care and to also allow co-workers an avenue to support each other in times of extraordinary events.
Here are three things to consider when formulating your policy:
- Consider a variety of ways for employees to contribute.
- An ongoing, voluntary, employee payroll deduction that would accumulate in the employee disaster fund account.
- An opportunity for an employee to voluntarily donate a one-time payroll deduction at the time of crisis.
- The ability for employees to volunteer accrued and unused PTO, in the event that the colleague in crisis does not have any PTO remaining to allow them paid time off during the time away from work.
- Will the company contribute to the cause as well?
- Can the company provide a “match” to each employee contribution?
- If so, what limits should be put (if any) on that match?
- How will the policy be governed?
- How should “crisis” or “catastrophic event” be defined?
- Should the policy be governed by a committee of peers? How often should this committee be rotated? Should there be a member of Management on the committee as a resource?
- What limits should be placed on PTO donations from employees, i.e. maximum amounts allowed, PTO has to be accrued and unused to be donated, etc.
- Who should have the final approval of colleague requests?
- What forms or methods need to be used to make a request from, or donate to, the disaster fund?
As always, confidentiality should be a factor. Not just surrounding those contributing to the cause, but also for anyone needing to make a request from the fund. If a request denial will be forthcoming, it should be done in private with specific reasons listed for the denial.
A carefully crafted program with design input from your staff can be a very low-cost, high-return benefit that goes a long way in supporting a caring corporate culture.