The bottomless vacation allowance - does it work?

It sounds like a dream but is the reality of a never-ending holiday allowance more of a nightmare?
HR Grapevine
HR Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd
The bottomless vacation allowance - does it work?
One long-endless summer ... is it too good to be true?

Who doesn't love a vacay? But what if it was Groundhog Day and the holiday became never-ending? Would the shine disappear?

Sometimes good things happen; the middle aisle of budget supermarkets, a free photoshoot win at the village fete, a hand-me down sofa that comes just as the springs in yours have departed, an offer of a lift to a party when you fancied a glass of wine, and the uncapped, endless holiday allowance your employer has just launched. Yet, is the dream of endless turquoise waters and sand between your toes for as looooong as you like, yes, just don’t worry about work and all of that, a reality or an employer’s test of your loyalty and dedication not to mention your anger levels when your colleague walks out yet again for another bargain last-minute break to the Maldives?

The summer season is almost upon us and together with hose pipe bans, school’s out for the summer and a good old, British burger in the rain – many thoughts turn to the annual vacation. For most workers, the two-week break is the holy grail and pinnacle of the working relationship – that most understood of transactions - you slog it out all year round, peppering the months with a week here, a day there, an afternoon off on a wet occasional, Wednesday and wait patiently for the main show – two of those delicious Gregorian calendar weeks when you put on your ‘out of office’. But what if it could and is more? What if your boss launches a hand grenade upon the 20+ days capped holiday allowance you have lived your life by, year after year and he or she turns around and says, ‘It’s all change on the Russian roulette of your employment contract, have as many holidays as you like, I won’t say a thing’. Does it work and can it even be a starter for ten?

Who’s holidaying permanently?

The idea of bottomless holidays first appeared in the mid-90s with some notable brands standing ‘out and proud’ in joining the endless vacation allowances. Netflix have had the policy in place for 14 years. It came about primarily because employees were already working an irregular workday – with the business requiring both weekend and evening fixes, the business decided to change their focus to what their people got done not how many hours they worked.

We wanted to ensure that everyone has the opportunity, for their wellbeing, to have sufficient down time and respite from work, while also ensuring they aren’t restricted. We fully understand that ‘life happens,’ so if they need what would traditionally be deemed as ‘additional days’ here and there in order to get life admin done, then that’s fine

Emma Dunning | Director at Pace HR

Professional networking site, LinkedIn is another of the big guns that has gone down the same holidaying route. They first launched the ‘cap off’ programme in 2015 under the banner of ‘Discretionary Time Off’ – an initiative which allows for no set minimum or maximum amount of vacation days. A year before, in 2014, Richard Branson introduced the same policy to his Virgin Management business, the family office within Virgin Group.

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