One of the top perks employers are offering these days is unlimited vacations, where you can take all the time off you want, whether it’s a few days or a month. And while it sounds like the ultimate perk, some say unlimited vacations aren’t really all they’re cracked up to be. Here’s what you need to know, according to workplace expert Dan Lyons. We’ll start with some of the positives:
First: They’re a great recruiting tool. Companies that offer unlimited vacations, like Netflix and Evernote, say they’re having no problem finding people who want to work for them because who can say “no” to a boss who lets YOU decide how much time off you’d like to take? And it’s especially attractive to younger workers, who tend to prefer less structure than older workers. They also place a higher value on having free time to enjoy life.
Another plus: Unlimited vacations boost productivity. Many studies show that happy, well-rested workers tend to be the most productive. Which explains why some companies not only offer vacations, they’ll also pay a bonus when you take them.
So what are the downsides to unlimited vacations?
For starters: They’re unpaid. That’s why companies can afford to offer them. Because normally, workers accumulate vacation days, and if you quit or get fired, you get paid for the vacation days you earned, but didn’t use. But with unlimited vacations, you don’t accumulate days. So the company never has to worry about holding money aside to pay you off if you leave.
Also, unlimited vacations build RESENTMENT, especially among older workers who don’t tend to take the extra time off. So when older workers see younger colleagues taking off to Bali for a month, they feel resentful and burdened because they have to stay in the office and hold down the fort.
One more thing: Experts say unlimited vacations are only as good as the BOSSES who offer them. Because even if the company policy says “unlimited,” some managers only allow employees to take time off when they say it’s okay.