Should Employers Give Paid Time Off for Volunteering?

The perk may make employees more loyal to their companies

6 February 2015

A number of technology companies not only encourage their employees to tackle social issues but also pay them for it. For example, Pandora, the Internet radio streaming service, gives its workers one full week—or 40 hours—of paid time per year to volunteer. And Facebook sponsors hackathons in which employees can spend several paid workdays to offer technical help for a cause.

But they are in a minority. An annual study by the Society for Human Resource Management of companies in more than 140 countries shows that 16 percent of some 510 respondents offer paid time off for volunteer work as part of an effort to boost engagement and retention of their employees. According to an article in Forbes, such benefits increase employee productivity and loyalty, and are capturing the attention of millennials—many of whom prefer to work for a company committed to the greater good. 

Should more employers offer paid time off for volunteering? How would you use this time and your skills to help others?

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