Trending Topic: Unlimited Vacation Time

 In Benefits, Employee Engagement, Employees, Time & Attendance, Trending Topic

Core benefits of health insurance, retirement planning and time off are still essential to employee satisfaction, particularly for women and Millennials…

Unlimited vacation time…you imagine weeks of lying on white sand beaches, but in fact, our eyes for vacation days are bigger than our stomachs for taking time off. Studies show that U.S. workers don’t take the vacation time they’ve earned, worrying they’ll fall behind at the office or miss out on a great project or promotion. Employees use slightly more than half — 51 percent — of the vacation days accrued, according to a Glassdoor survey. And when they finally do take some time off, 61 percent work while they should be unwinding and recharging.

This vacation avoidance is bad for employees and businesses, which typically pay out unused vacation days when workers leave. Business could adapt a “use it or lose it” policy, where workers forfeit vacation days they don’t take, but that makes them look like Scrooge. Or, companies can offer unlimited vacation, which makes them look like Santa Claus and relieves them of the burden of paying for vacation days employees don’t take.

The stated philosophy behind all-you-can-take vacation time is this: Treat employees like adults, and they’ll take the time they need and can afford. In reality, the caveat “so long as you get your work done” is a cudgel hanging over employees who know their work is never completely done. Also, unlimited vacation for an always-connected workforce often turns time off into a change of venue, rather than a change of pace.

Although only about 1 percent of U.S. companies offer unlimited vacation, more and more are adopting it as a perk to attract workers, especially millennials who say benefits are more important to them than salary, in a recent Glassdoor Survey. Implementing this policy would help boost employee happiness and engagement, allowing for greater work-life balance. The jury is still out on whether all-you-can-take vacation means employees will take more, less or the same amount of time off.

It may or may not be right for your company, but it should give you food for thought on your vacation policy and how your employees are approaching vacation. Whatever you decide, you don’t want employees feeling resentment because the workload makes it difficult for them to take the vacation time they have accrued each year.

Learn more about trends in Time & Attendance.

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