With the news of Goldman Sachs introducing unlimited leave for their senior staff, employers may be considering the benefits and drawbacks within their own business.

There is no denying that the pandemic has highlighted the importance of mental health and employee wellbeing in the workplace.

So, should employers ditch the traditional approach to holidays, and move towards more flexibility?

The benefits

Offering staff the chance to take more time off could help improve work/life balance, subsequently improving wellbeing.

Some companies who have successfully applied a policy like this have reported a happier and more productive workforce.

As well as this, unlimited holiday is a benefit that could help attract more talent to the business, as well as retain existing employees.

Employers should keep in mind that overworking can lead to stress, anxiety, illness and absence. Granting staff with as much time off as they need could help avoid this.

The drawbacks

In some cases, unlimited holiday policies can result in fewer holidays being taken, as staff do not know the boundaries of what is “appropriate” without a fixed number of days.

Additionally, if employees do request a large amount of time off, without sensible planning, this could put pressure on those left behind who will have to cover their work.

There may then be conflict between staff, with some having to work harder than others, raising the question of what is fair.

Does it really work?

Simply put, the effectiveness of unlimited leave depends on the terms of the policy put in place by your company.

You should think about pragmatic matters such as:

  • Outlining procedures for requesting leave
  • The rights of your business to reject leave requests
  • How you’ll deal with competing requests
  • How you’ll deal with the “carry-over”
  • Stating a maximum number of days which can be taken together at any one time
  • How you’ll handle under-performance if this is linked to an employee taking too much time off.

Are unlimited holidays the future, or should we stick to what we know?

Join in with the discussion and tweet us at @HRCaddy.