Richard Branson does it.
LinkedIn now do it.
So why shouldn't you?
Unlimited leave, sounds like a dream come true to every employee and a productivity nightmare to business analysts around the globe.
Depending on who you are and your style of business, unlimited leave can bring both positive and negative results to your business.
Before you make the decision to review your leave policies you need to consider some of the conditions that many would assume are implied, but never actually discussed.
I have read several media releases from businesses who now offer unlimited leave. The information supplied and quotes offered refer to happy, energised employees who are given the freedom to manage their time and take ownership of their work.
Honestly, it sounds great.
But let's look at the mechanics of it. The statements imply that there is only one type of leave – Annual Leave – the fun leave that people want to enjoy. But then there is carers leave, sick leave and more. Some leave cannot be avoided and I would hope if an employee is ill they are free to take this leave whenever required.
But the problem lies with the Annual Leave, the fun leave. If your unlimited leave policy isn't written correctly it can also mean there is no minimum annual leave requirements placed on the employee. Yes, you want your employees to work hard for the business, but to keep productivity and engagement consistent your employees need a break.
If leave isn't monitored you will find that some employees will actually take less leave. If you think in terms of cash outlay then you may think this is an acceptable work practice, but this does not build or encourage a positive work environment.
You need to ensure that as an employer, there will be no backlash or guilt associated with taking leave, you also need to ensure that employees need to understand that sick leave and annual leave are not mutually exclusive. That is, just because an employee takes sick leave doesn't mean they should forfeit their right for annual leave.
When introducing such a policy it is imperative that:
- Your message is consistent across the business
- That you foster an environment that encourages regular annual leave and personal days off
- That workloads will be managed and annual leave planned in advance wherever possible
- You create a policy around how accrued annual leave will be paid out to an employee if they were to leave the company.