Richard Branson has told his personal staff via his website that they can "take off whenever they want for as long as they want." Whilst this is surely set to increase the number of job applications Virgin receive, it also further highlights the disparity between policies like this and the average paid vacation allowance across the United States.
A study from the Center for Economic and Policy Research reviewed the days of paid vacation across 21 of the wealthiest countries on the planet. Figure 1 illustrates how the United States is the only developed economy to provide 0 days of paid vacation. However, whilst legally there is no entitlement to paid vacation, many Americans do receive 10 days due to national holidays.
Courtesy: Center for Economic and Policy Research
Compared to this low vacation allowance, Branson’s Utopian policy seems even more tempting. Based on the theory that the strict 9-5 working day is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, Branson has commented that as we are now working in increasingly flexible ways, we should be applying this same logic to our vacation time.
However, Virgin are not the first company to introduce a policy like this one. Branson has commented that alongside Netflix, other companies are also offering benefits like this. One such company has already been featured in our Coolest Companies Series and entreQuest doesn’t even track the number of vacation days that employees take. Providing an employee gives a month’s notice to allow adequate preparation time, everyone is trusted to manage their own vacation time.
Public opinion regarding this type of policy will of course vary hugely, but we here at Expert Market US think that like most things, if this policy is used responsibility it could be extremely beneficial for staff morale and productivity.