Is Unlimited Vacation really a good thing?

18 September 2019 by Rachel Whalley
Workplace Productivity

When looking for a new job, candidates often look at not only the salary but also the additional benefits a company offers. On the rise is an Unlimited Vacation policy, but is this actually a good option. With increasingly divided opinions from both sides, we thought we share some more information so you can see if this is a policy your organization should implement, or if this is a benefit you would like from your next role

Pro: Improving employee happiness

The original purpose of implementing progressive benefits such as Unlimited Vacation was to improve an organization's culture and boost employee happiness - to encourage a work/life balance. The flexibility allows employees to have this balance and improves their happiness overall.  

Con: The policy is frequently misused

This happens from both the side of the organization & the employees. Some employers may use this Policy as a way to cut costs, as they don’t have to pay out any unused days - rather than as a benefit for their staff. On the other hand, there is always a risk that your employees could abuse the policy, and take weeks or even months off without any fear of losing their jobs. However, lots of research shows that this is rarely the case - and it is more common that employees will take less PTO...

Pro: No more counting days

One of the benefits of Unlimited Holidays is that you never have to keep a count of the days you have taken off, and the number you have left. You don’t have to stress about missing days. 

Con: Employees end up taking less PTO

On average, employees with unlimited vacation take an average of 13 days off, and those with more traditional policies take 15 days. (https://library.namely.com/hr-mythbusters-2017) It seems as though your vacation is no longer controlled by a policy, but socially - what time off has your team taken? Will you be taking more? All sorts of questions will run through your head, and all of a sudden taking holiday becomes extremely difficult.

Pro: It shows trust

From both the employer & the employee, the employer trusts the employee to not abuse this policy and that they’ll know what the best amount of time off for them is! This only helps improve a workplace environment and the relationships within that. 

So is Unlimited Vacation truly a work perk? Robert, the CEO of Facet recently shared on LinkedIn why his company was moving away from an Unlimited Vacation policy - calling it a “scam.” In his experience, he found that his employees tended to take less vacation than they would before, and they had no idea what the right amount of Vacation was for them to take. Let us know what you think! 


Further reading:

Inc. The Pros and Cons of an Unlimited Vacation Policy (and How It Affects Your Employees)

Medium. Unlimited Vacation is a dark perk and you should use that to your advantage

The Muse. How Unlimited Vacation Works in Reality (and Not Just in Company Handbooks)

Facet. Why We Ditched Our Unlimited Vacation Policy