By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – How often have you wanted to take a trip, but you didn’t have any vacation time left? It’s happened to many of us. But what if there was a way around that?
One option is popping up at workplaces around the country.
Jeffe Kennedy and her husband love to travel the world but she says, “I run out of vacation time every year.”
Fortunately her company offers a buy-sell vacation program that allows her to purchase an extra week of time every year.
“It’s absolutely worth it to me to pay out of pocket for the extra time off,” says Kennedy.
A recent survey found 14-percent of companies now allow employees to buy or sell their vacation days through payroll deductions or credits.
“We get very, very positive feedback about vacation buy and sell. Flexibility in terms of how people work, where they work, when they work is very important to employees today,” says Brian Cook of USG Corporation.
At USG Corporation the “buy” is much more popular than the “sell.”
“About half of employees will buy a week of vacation each year. Only about 10 percent will sell a week,” According to Cook.
Some companies also offer a third option; donating unused vacation time to charity.
“Employees who have extra days they can’t use can give them back to the employer who converts that into a cash value and then writes a check in that amount to a charity,” says Julia Stich, with the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans.
Other businesses offer the chance to donate to fellow workers.
“Another employee who may be suffering a personal crisis can tap that pool and have additional time off,” says Stich.
So what happens if you sell vacation time back? Normally employees will receive an extra paycheck, with all the usual deductions. However companies can also offer them the option to contribute the cash to their 401k or profit sharing plan instead.