The New Trend: Unlimited Vacation Time

by TTMK on July 17, 2013 · 16 comments

Vacation time is a great thing.  It’s a time to recharge batteries, and simply enjoy life while leaving behind the day-to-day stresses that tend to permeate our lives.  Sometimes, we actually have to take vacation time to get things done.  Either way, time off is valuable for most of us.

How would you like it if you got unlimited vacation time?  That’s right, as much time off as you want to take.

Apparently, per this article on Yahoo!, this is actually happening with some companies.  The idea seems as simple as that: take as much time off as you need, as long as you get the work done.

Want to spend a week at home with the kids, getting some great parent-child time? Want to spend a week on the beach, in some exotic location?  Sure, this seems like an option with such a vacation time plan.  Maybe you can just work super hard when you want to, and then relax a bit at other times  It seems like in theory, as long as the employee gets work done, it’s all good!

Well, I don’t have first-hand experience with such an arrangement – just like most people reading this, one would think.  My initial view is that this seems to be too good to be true.  In this current market and economy, despite what the stock market is doing and what job reports say, it’s not exactly one where the employees have all the power.  It’s not Silicon Valley around the millennium, that’s for sure!  Thus, I can’t see employers offering up concessions to employees strictly for retention or to entice new hires.

Companies, based on what the article discusses, can save money on expenses by keeping them off the books.  They don’t owe money for unpaid time off, it would seem, when a person would leave the company.  For the employees, I wonder if this would blur the lines between work and non-work time?

Personally, I like the idea of flexible hours, and generous vacation time.  I think people work better and add more value when they are able to get a good work-life experience, and flexibility to get things done that are often unavoidable (like kids sick days, etc).  Not worrying about having a long vacation held against you is a good thing.  But unlimited vacation time?  I don’t know, it just sounds too good to be true as far as being an amazing perk for employees.

We’ll see if this trend picks up and becomes more commonplace, and how this would be implemented on a broad scale.

My Questions for You:

What are your thoughts about an unlimited vacation time policy?

Do you think this would really be a great perk, or something that seems too good to be true?


{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam Gill @ Digital Spikes July 17, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Sound like a fair policy, Work-Life balance is very important. It is simple as long as work is getting done companies are happy and it is a win win for both employee and employer, Trying to keep their workers happy too. More productivity and retention strategy


TTMK July 18, 2013 at 9:04 pm

In theory, those could be benefits!


Michelle July 17, 2013 at 9:49 pm

I think it’s interesting to think about, but I have read something where employees who work at companies like this actually use LESS vacation time than if they were given a specific allotment. This is because they don’t want the company to feel as though they are taking advantage of them. My friend gets unlimited sick days and has never used a single one in the past 2 years.


TTMK July 18, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Michelle – I can understand how your friend would use those days sparingly. Even though they are theoretically unlimited, many people don’t want to be known as the type that miss work often.


Daisy @ Young Finances July 17, 2013 at 9:51 pm

I would love this, right now. I’m young and childless, and I’d love to be able to see the world and work remotely and just get the job done. That way I could spend 14 hours one day in the office and take the next day off. Or whatever. But I think more routine is needed for a family.


TTMK July 18, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Daisy – I think it could work great (in theory anyway) for someone young and childless. For family, it actually might work really well for different reasons – the flexibility to take care of kids, who have all kinds of different needs.


Matt Becker July 18, 2013 at 7:49 am

My company doesn’t really have unlimited vacation time, we just don’t have a policy at all. My boss is extremely flexible about time off and I have to say that it’s pretty awesome. I think it probably depends on the work environment, and I definitely think there will be specific times when you need certain employees around, but I like the idea of focusing on the work accomplished rather than the time spent.


TTMK July 18, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Matt – that sounds like a cool arrangement there!


Edward Antrobus July 18, 2013 at 3:28 pm

I understand where they are coming from by offering flexibility. Nobody is going to offer truly unlimited vacation time where you can just take the next 10 years off. But I guess it may be easier to say, we just aren’t going to worry about counting vacation days and making sure you stay under an arbitrary limit. It actually would decrease HR’s workload a little.

That said, I never understood the concept of paid vacation time. I live by the motto of, if you don’t work, you don’t eat!


TTMK July 18, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Edward – they’re trying to save money, keeping the liability off the books. I think the not working/not eating concept applies to those with vacation time as well, it’s just a part of the overall deal.


SavvyFinancialLatina July 18, 2013 at 4:50 pm

I don’t think I would feel comfortable taking vacation. I would probably takes less.


TTMK July 18, 2013 at 8:56 pm

I know, it would seem odd to ask for a massive amount of time off. With many job responsibilities, it seems hard to imagine a person being gone for a long period of time


JW_UmbrellaTreasury July 18, 2013 at 5:31 pm

I have never personally worked for one of these companies, although several of my friends have. Most of those friends are lawyers. Like Michelle said, people often end up taking less vacation time than if they had a specified number of vacation days. Many of my friends are afraid to ask for time off because they are uncertain what would be considered a “reasonable” request. It’s an interesting idea…


TTMK July 18, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Yes, interesting idea. Seems understandable that it might be a challenge to know what’s reasonable. For example, will they look at you sideways if you ask for 3 weeks off at a time?


funancials July 19, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Do you mind posting the link to the article? I think you meant to, but a hyperlink wasn’t created.

My job kind of feels like I’m always on a vacation. I can work remotely as it is, so as long as I’m productive, my boss doesn’t mind where I am.

For the masses, though, I have mixed views:

1. Although people sit at work for 8 hours each day, are they REALLY working 8 hours? No. Why not recognize this and tell people to work diligently for 4-6 hours (thus creating more free time).

2. At a time where A LOT of people can’t find any hours to work, should we even be thinking about working less?


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