Do You Even Need a Vacation Policy?

Written by Erin Osterhaus

Question: Do you even need a vacation policy?

A small, but growing, number of companies across the US have abolished the traditional “fixed-number-of-days” vacation plan for their employees. Instead, these employers have implemented an unlimited paid time off (PTO) policy, giving their staff the freedom to choose when, and for how long, they’ll be out of the office. So, should your company get on the bandwagon?

Answer: It depends.  After interviewing business executives, Software Advice found that in some cases, granting employees the ability to create their own work schedules has definite benefits. Among those benefits, supporters of unlimited PTO named increased morale, productivity, and employee retention rates. If employees are able to de-stress and re-energize on their own time, proponents argue there is also the benefit of saved time and money by avoiding the need to track vacation days.

But it appears each of these advantages also has a flip-side.

Abuse of the policy by some employees could reduce efficiency, especially if leave is taken without the completion of all deliverables. Simultaneously, some staff might feel pressured not to take vacation for fear of being seen as a ‘slacker’ by their boss or colleagues, negating the purpose of the policy – rest and relaxation when employees need it most. Finally, the need to avoid claims of favoritism and discrimination might compel companies to develop specific managerial training when implementing an unlimited PTO policy – negating the time/cost savings gained by not tracking employees’ vacation days.

In the end, it appears there are two key features a company must have if an unlimited PTO policy is to be successful: open communication and a culture of accountability.

After implementing an unlimited vacation policy last year, Halley Bock, the CEO of Fierce, Inc., gave the following advice: “I wouldn’t recommend it carte blanche to every company. Because you do need to have some things in place before you uncork the bottle. You need to have a culture where people understand that it is up to them to achieve their objectives.”

What policy does your company have? Take our survey and let us know!

Still interested in learning more? Read the original post here.