Unlimited Vacation Time: A Gen Y Perspective

According to WorldatWork, 1% of companies offer their employees unlimited paid vacation time.

I love, love, love this and hope the number grows.

No, I don’t picture jetting off to the Caribbean once a month or taking a four day weekend every week. For this Gen Y recent grad, unlimited vacation time means so much more than days off work. It means that I’m working for a company that I sincerely care about.

It means that I have personal responsibility in that company. It means that I can work from home. It means that I can set my own hours, within reason. It means I can take a sick day without feeling guilty or losing pay. And yes, it means that I can plan to take off two months and travel Asia once I’ve had the opportunity to save and plan.

The Gen Y Perspective

From my perspective (and I think many of my Gen Y friends), working somewhere that has unlimited vacation time means working somewhere that you sincerely care about and are invested in, which probably means you won’t take more vacation time than you would normally be offered. You won’t take advantage because you don’t want to lose the flexibility and hopefully, you truly do care enough about your job and the goals of the company to invest the time and energy to create growth.

I know that I’d be willing to invest my heart and soul into a company if I knew I could take a guilt-free sick day and take of for a few months every few years.  I would work my toes off to keep that job, making a win-win situation for the employer and the employee.

Is Gen Y Too Lazy For Unlimited Vacation Time?

My parents would probably laugh at the idea of unlimited vacation time. My generation is certainly too lazy for that to work out, they would say. Studies by the Conference Board of Canada agree that older generations often look at Gen Y as lazy and hard to manage. Gen Y’s who expect to find a job with unlimited vacation time, office dogs and afternoon drinks can easily be, and often are called lazy.

Gen Y is different from previous generations because we have grown up with technology, making us easily bored and always ready for change. With Blackberries, laptops and iPhones, work can no longer be contained between the hours of 9 and 5. Technology allows for  new work-life balance that could incorporate a much more flexible vacation schedule, so why not take advantage?

Unlimited Vacation = No Vacation?

I’ll take off my rose-tinted glasses now.

I understand unlimited vacation time isn’t all sweet and easy. In some cases, employees are less likely to take any vacation time when they don’t have an allotted number of weeks. Employees making use of the flexibility might be looked down on by those who aren’t taking time off. The employer might offer unlimited vacation time, but not make employees feel comfortable using it.

Unlimited vacation time can also become tricky when fired from or quitting a job. If you didn’t take any time off, you might feel entitled to more pay. You might feel you are being let go because you took too much time off. It might be nearly impossible to take time off completely away from work emails and phone calls. Employers might set guidelines for how much time you should be taking off, which defeats the whole idea of unlimited vacation time. The list could go on.

We want to hear about your experience with unlimited vacation time! Do you think it could work well? Or is it a dreamy idea bound to fail?

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