Unlimited annual leave: the good and the bad

Unlimited annual leave is a new HR trend, but is it something you should offer your staff? We explain the pros and cons.

BrightHR Team

For most workers, an unlimited holiday policy is a new employee perk. But believe it or not, flexible holiday schemes have been around for some time.

Virgin has offered unlimited annual leave to its senior managers since 2014. And now Glassdoor, Netflix and Groupon all offer a similar policy.

But is unlimited annual leave something that a small business like yours should consider? Or does it only make sense for big companies? Let’s find out.

Why should I offer unlimited annual leave to my staff?

It’s simple really, well-rested staff are more productive. They’re less likely to burnout and more likely to give you 100% when they are at work.

In fact, companies who have unlimited holiday schemes have reported a growth in their revenue. And that’s not the only benefit you could see.

When you recruit, an unlimited holiday policy could make your company stand out from the crowd. And it’s important for attracting younger candidates.

According to a recent survey, 18 to 24 year olds say that unlimited annual leave is the most attractive perk a company could offer.

What’s the catch?

Unlimited annual leave means unlimited, and some of your staff might take advantage of that.

They might book time off for weeks on end and leave you and your team to pick up the slack. And that could have a big impact on you as a small business.

It could even have the opposite effect. Staff with high workloads could take less time off than before because they don’t want to fall behind on their work. And that could mean your company develops a culture of presenteeism.

So should I consider offering unlimited annual leave?

With over half of all workers saying that they want their employee benefits to help improve their work-life balance, it’s well worth considering unlimited annual leave.

But if you do, it’s important that you make a clear annual leave policy to tell employees what you expect from them. This will come in handy if an employee starts to take advantage.

And if an unlimited holiday scheme isn’t for you, there are alternatives. You could consider offering flexible working hours to your staff.