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Unlimited Vacation - Wave of the Future or Potential Liability?

The idea seems so simple: Instead of carefully tracking how much time each employee takes off during the year, we all agree to treat one another as professional, responsible adults, and take off whatever time we need consistent with getting our work done. That’s the idea behind unlimited vacation or PTO policies, and it does seem great in theory. Employees get flexibility. Employers don’t have to book accrued vacation or PTO or worry themselves about complicated recordkeeping. Everyone is happy.

Should Your Employees Get More Sun, Surf, and Sand? A Quick Look at Unlimited Vacation Policies

The news reports that more and more companies are moving to offer unlimited vacation time. On its face, this policy change appears to be a generous offer by employers to boost employee morale and attract top talent, but there may be other factors at play. Here is an overview of such policies and some observations on their utility for California employers.

Is An Unlimited Vacation Policy Right For Your Workplace?

According to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, about 3% of companies in the U.S. maintain some form of unlimited vacation policy. The reasons for adopting such a policy are easy to see: they offer work­life balance and flexibility, empower employees with the responsibility of balancing their time off, and relieve the company of administering a vacation or paid time off (PTO) policy. While the unlimited vacation policy trend is growing, there are various considerations to take into account before diving in.

Are Unlimited Vacation Policies Right For All Employers?

According to a survey report by the Society for Human Resource Management, it is estimated that about 3 percent of companies in the U.S. maintain unlimited vacation policies. These companies are often in the technology industry, startups, and companies that mostly employ salaried, exempt workers. The ideals behind adopting such a policy are easy to see, offering work­life balance and flexibility to employees, empowering employees with the trust and responsibility of balancing their time off, and relieving the company of having to track and administer a vacation and/or paid time off policy. While the unlimited vacation policy trend is growing, there are various considerations an employer must take into account before diving in.
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