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Is Unlimited Vacation Too Good To Be True?

Bill Manser, of Royalston, Mass., casts for striped bass at the mouth of Kennebec River at dawn, Friday, Aug. 5, 2011, in Phippsburg, Maine. (AP/Robert F. Bukaty)

Bill Manser, of Royalston, Mass., casts for striped bass at the mouth of Kennebec River at dawn, Friday, Aug. 5, 2011, in Phippsburg, Maine. (AP/Robert F. Bukaty)

Unlimited vacation policies are gaining traction among young technology firms. These companies say that allowing employees more freedom in managing their vacation makes for a happier, and ultimately more productive, workplace. But others argue that the lack of a structured vacation policy can actually dissuade employees from taking even the standard two weeks off of work.

What do you make of the idea of unlimited vacation? Would you take advantage of it if your workplace adopted such a policy?


Vivan Vitale, executive vice president of human resources for Veracode, a Burlington-based software firm

Fred Foulkes, professor of organizational behavior and director of the Human Resources Policy Institute at Boston University School of Management

Levi Felix, founder of Digital Detox and director of Camp Grounded


The Boston Globe: “Most people dream of being able to take as much vacation as they want. But at a growing number of companies, especially young technology firms, employees are getting unlimited time off. And incredibly, they’re not taking advantage of it. Many of these workers are taking the same — or even less — vacation time than when they had a fixed number of days each year.”

The Washington Post, “Yes, there’s the chance that employees could abuse the policy and take too much. But just as worrisome, if not more, is that when there’s no clear guidance on how much time off is okay, people could actually end up taking less.”

The New York Times, “First, create rules and clear boundaries for what it means to be “on vacation” (both for management and for employees). Set expectations and empower team members to support one another in the effort to unplug. Second, provide programming options or a menu of experiences that invest in the sustained wellness of team members. Retreats, classes and nature programs give individuals and teams the permission to completely step away from work and recharge — free of guilt.”


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  • vito33

    Paid vacation? Or some kind of leave without pay?

  • Mark Giese

    How about tracking all the overtime and paying for it or providing compensatory time??? Then maybe managers who are too sloppy to plan well enough will have to pay for their ineptitude!

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