5 Tips For Making An Unlimited Vacation Policy Work

by Ben Kirshner


The U.S. lags woefully behind when it comes to vacation policies.


In fact, of 21 comparatively wealthy countries, the U.S. is the only one that doesn’t require employers to give workers paid vacation, according to a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research.


But things are changing. Flexible vacation policies are becoming more popular — the New York City Comptroller even weighed in on the issue. People are slowly realizing that working more hours doesn’t actually increase productivity or efficiency.


If you’re hesitant to implement an unlimited vacation policy at your company, you’re not alone. It’s a new concept that has employers skeptical, but vetting its potential pitfalls and understanding best practices for policy-making can help you create a vacation policy that keeps your business running smoothly.


Concerns That Hold Managers Back

Managers often fear employees will exploit the “unlimited” aspect of this policy and productivity will suffer. While this isn’t always the case, considering these drawbacks will help you implement a plan with confidence.



For example, if your employee takes a month off to care for his grandmother, is that considered leave under the FMLA or part of his unlimited vacation? Tailoring your policy to comply with these laws is necessary to avoid legal problems.



Have I convinced you that an unlimited policy won’t work? Well, hold on a second. Companies such as Evernote and HubSpot have this type of vacation policy and use it to draw top talent to their companies and increase employee engagement.


At my company, we’ve used this type of policy successfully for years. So how do we do it?


How to Implement a New Vacation Policy

The success of your vacation policy has almost everything to do with how it’s introduced. The transition period can be hectic and confusing, so it’s important to proceed with caution. Consider these steps for creating a policy your staff can appreciate.



The thought of implementing an unlimited vacation policy might have you worried employees will skip out on work and head to the beach every other week. But giving employees the freedom to make their own schedules and manage their workflow will improve accountability and create a trusting environment. They’ll be grateful for your flexibility, and you’ll see a boost in productivity. So what are you waiting for?


Ben Kirshner is the CEO of Elite SEM, a fast-growing online marketing agency with a passion for building a team of industry experts. Elite SEM recently claimed the No. 1 spot on Mashable’s list of  “Top 7 Tech Companies to Work For” and Crain’s New York Business’ list of “Best Place to Work 2013.” Ben can be found on Twitter or Google+.


Photo Credits

Dawn Bowman | Courtesy of Author

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