working on holidays

Unlimited Holidays – A Great Benefit Or A Poisoned Chalice?

Unlimited Holidays – A Great Benefit Or A Poisoned Chalice?

working on holidays

Unlimited Holidays – A Great Benefit Or A Poisoned Chalice?


hat if they told you that you could have an eternal vacation? The new labour trend has already reached several U.S. technology companies. After the Great Resignation, many companies were losing employees. They were not able to keep them because of the employment conditions. That’s when the question arose: What if workers could have as much vacation as they wanted?


What is an unlimited vacation?

More and more companies are opting to grant this benefit. The idea is that workers can take unlimited days off. They are the ones who organise themselves and the team to achieve the objectives. The faster the objectives are reached, the more days off.

The only requirement is that the worker must coordinate with his colleagues so that the company does not come to a standstill. The unlimited vacation trend is growing in the U.S., but would it be possible to spread to Europe? And is it really as lovely as it is painted?

Advantages of unlimited holidays

At first, such an idea may seem negative for the company, but nothing could be further from the truth! The company has a lot to gain by allowing employees to choose their rest periods. Let’s review the three main advantages:

  • Increased motivation and productivity. It’s logical. If an employee needs to meet a goal in order to take more days off, he or she will go all out! When high productivity means more vacation, employees have a key motivation to perform at work. Both the company and the employee benefit.
  • Freedom for employers. The employee can decide how much vacation time he or she needs and can organize their own work schedule. If this is done correctly, it allows them to adapt to the company’s workflows and get more rest at times when demands are lower.
  • Improvements in the relationship between the company and the employee. If unlimited vacations are organized through a dialogue between the company and the employee, trust will grow. The fact that the company involves the employee in a task that is so important to both serves to build a stable and firm relationship. And this always helps to work better.

Disadvantages of unlimited holidays

But it’s not all good. There are several negative points to consider in this trend. Even for the employees themselves, yes. These are the three main disadvantages of introducing unlimited vacation in the company:

  • Loss of boundaries. Of course, “unlimited holidays” does not mean “eternal holidays”. The employee may feel lost and unsure about how many days off they should take. They may even take less vacation than if it were stipulated in the contract to avoid being singled out by the company. The doubts are not a few. Are 30 days better? 25? Or… better none at all, right?
  • Increased competition within the team. Coordinating teams can be a challenge. An employee who takes only 10 days of vacation will be more highly valued than one who takes 30 days. Competition within the same team is never healthy because it creates friction that will not be good for the company or the workers.
  • Difficulties when organising. When workers are few, the situation is easily manageable. But when we find ourselves in larger companies, where the teams consist of more people, it is not so easy to organize everyone so that the company does not remain empty. Especially if there are no limitations on the amount of time off workers can take.

How unlimited holidays have worked

The truth is that there is no clear consensus. Many companies that have implemented them defend them, explaining that the results have improved. In addition, they claim that employees value them very positively because they have more time off. In Netflix or Xceed, they are already part of the benefits and we cannot deny that, indeed, in the U.S. there are more and more companies that are offering these unlimited vacations.

Of course, unlimited vacations are limited (redundancy aside) to companies that work by objectives. In addition, several studies claim that they may not be so positive. Employees with unlimited vacation often take fewer days off than those with vacation already allotted in the contract. They may even take less than they need. In addition, not knowing the limits can lead to high rates of anxiety among employees.


Could unlimited vacations be incorporated in Europe?

In any case, it seems that in Europe it would be difficult to create an unlimited vacation model. Most countries regulate the number of vacation days by law (in the United States there is no regulation). And changing it is not easy.  Moreover, it is not a measure that is in high demand among European workers. Other issues such as a four-day workweek or mental health support seem to be of more concern.

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