It sounds great: your company says you can take as much time off as you want. Grab your beach towel!
But it’s not quite that simple. Unlimited paid holiday may look good from the outside and proponents argue, rightly, that rested employees are more productive. Some say giving employees more autonomy means they handle workloads more responsibly. And workers like the sound of it – a recent US survey ranked unlimited holiday as the top “emerging benefit”, ahead of other trendy offerings like wellness incentives.
Yet there can be unexpected consequences: CharlieHR founder Ben Gateley said his firm had realised unlimited holiday wasn’t working. Dedicated employees of the London-based start-up weren’t taking enough time off. Those who did placed a greater burden on those who remained in the office. But the biggest problem was that people disliked not knowing what the limits were. “The fact that it was causing so much anxiety was a big problem – if you're fretting every time you book a holiday, then you aren't relaxing properly,” Gateley wrote.
A separate US survey confirmed that workers with unlimited holiday actually took less time off than those with capped days. Experts say the prevalence of workaholic company cultures can make employees feel inhibited: what if booking leave impacts promotion possibilities? Plus, having no fixed holiday allocation means companies don’t have to pay for unused days if employees resign or are laid off. Good for them, less good for you…