With summer right around the corner, many workers are gearing up for some warm-weather travel. But not everyone has the option to get away, and it's not just a matter of money. For some employees, it's a matter of not having enough time off from work.
The most common vacation allotment for workers with one year of service under their belts is 10 days, according to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. For those with five years of service, it's 15 days.
But not all employers distinguish between vacation and personal time, or vacation and sick time. That being the case, many workers run out of paid time off by the time the warm-weather months kick into gear. Alternatively, a large number of employees feel compelled to reserve their time off for the holiday season, especially those who need to travel to see family.
Now, missing a summer vacation is hardly tragic, but it can affect workers' morale, and in turn their productivity. It could also drive them to jump ship in search of a job that offers more time off. On the other hand, a more generous vacation policy could work wonders for employees' outlook and drive them to do better on the job as a show of gratitude.
How generous are we talking? How about unlimited vacation? It's a perk that only 3% of U.S. companies offer today, but it's a solid means of retaining employees, attracting talent, and driving workers to perform their best.
Why offer unlimited vacation?
Many companies balk at the idea of limitless vacation, but in reality, it could end up being a smart move on your business' part. First, consider this: Unlimited vacation is still a relatively novel concept, so by offering this perk, you'd be a pioneer of sorts.
Additionally, an unlimited vacation policy could result in better output from your employees. That's because these policies generally come with the caveat that workers are expected to not fall behind on deadlines and responsibilities in the course of taking vacation. So your employees might learn to use their time more efficiently, or schedule their time off more efficiently so as not to affect your company's bottom line.
At the same time, offering unlimited vacation is a great way to secure some employee loyalty. In today's competitive job market, it's all too easy for workers to hunt for better offers. If you provide a benefit that most competitors are unwilling to match, there's a good chance your best workers will be inspired to stay put.
And if you're worried that a limitless vacation policy will lend to abuse, fear not -- workers with unlimited vacation often take less time off than workers with caps on their vacation days. Part of that boils down to a use-it-or-lose-it mentality. Workers with limited time off don't want to give up days they're entitled to, but that often means scrambling to use up time rather than actually wanting or needing that time. With unlimited vacation, that same sense of urgency doesn't come into play.
Finally, there's the trust and respect factor to consider. Offering unlimited vacation shows your workers that you trust them to manage their time and that you respect their need to have time away from the office. Both tie directly into loyalty and retention.
Is an unlimited vacation policy right for your company? It depends on your goals. If you've been struggling to attract and retain talent, it's certainly worth considering. And remember, if you implement such a policy and it doesn't work out, there's always the option to revert to your former setup and put a cap on days off -- hopefully a generous one.