Should You Pay Employees to Take Vacations?

Should You Pay Employees to Take Vacations?

There is broad agreement that vacation is a good and important thing for employees. Tracking employee preferences worldwide, CEB’s Global Talent Monitor finds that the amount of vacation time on offer is one of the top ten factors employees consider when making decisions about where to work.

The problem that most people have is that they don’t take the vacation to which they’re entitled. Some recent survey work shows that more than half of American employees left vacation days on the table last year. And perhaps even worse, even when we are nominally on vacation, we are often still working (usually because our boss keeps asking for things).

To solve that first problem, employers have come up with a few different strategies, such as giving employees unlimited leave or making vacation mandatory. The latest innovation in this field, and perhaps the smartest solution to the problem of employees not taking vacations, is what Huffington Post business editor Emily Peck calls “paid, paid vacation”:

At his last job, Ian Nate worked for a company that offered unlimited vacation time. That didn’t mean he actually took a lot of vacation. Now Nate works for a small HR company that offers three weeks vacation time to new employees, but with a twist: BambooHR, an eight-year-old startup, gives full-time employees $2,000 a year to take a real vacation. The Linden, Utah-based company covers their expenses ― airfare, hotel, etc. The idea is to truly compel people to take real time away from work. …

Bamboo is one of a few companies offering what I’ve informally decided is the best job perk ever: Paid, paid vacation. Of course, there are other benefits that are more necessary like paid sick time, ordinary paid vacation days, health insurance, paid parental leave etc. And yes, the most important way an employer can compensate you is with a good salary. But really, is there a better way to truly communicate to your employers that you want them to be fully realized human beings? Free snacks and lunch ― standard perks in Silicon Valley at this point ― say, “stay at the office forever.” Paid, paid vacation says, “we want you to have a life.”