It May be Time to Rethink Your Vacation Policy

Raffa Financial ServicesRaffa Financial Services on 12/19/2019

All you want is an organization full talented people who work hard and are in it for the long haul. Is that too much to ask? Not if you’re taking care of them.  

Your employees can’t be “on” all the time. And there’s this little thing called life that demands their attention on a regular basis. Giving your employees what they need to be successful includes giving them enough time off to manage the demands of work and life. But in far too many cases, this isn’t happening.  

You have a vacation policy on the books. But is it equitable, reasonable, or sensible? Just because a policy exists doesn’t mean it’s good.  

Too little 

How much vacation do you give your employees? Do you start them off with a set amount or make them work an entire year before banking their first five paid days? Expecting someone to happily and effectively work for a year without vacation may seem reasonable to some employers, but ask any employee how they feel about that and you’re bound to get an earful.  

Do you increase available vacation time the longer people stay or do you give everyone their two weeks when they start and continue that until the end of time? It’s nice to have a minimum standard, but as people move up in their careers, they expect to take on more responsibility. And they expect that additional responsibility to come with more trust, more flexibility, more money, and more time off.   

Is your sick time super generous but your vacation time fairly slim? Yes, there are employees who need more sick days, and they should be able to take them. But healthy, reliable employees shouldn’t feel like they are being penalized for always showing up. Knowing you have chunks of paid time off sitting around that you can’t actually use feels a bit punitive. 

It matters now, more than ever 

You may think paid vacation is a small thing, an extra that your employees should be grateful to have at all. And if you’re comparing your vacation policy to what it was like for your great grandfather, you might be right.  

But life is very different now. And so is work.  

  • Many families are dual income, which means there isn’t anyone at home to just “take care of things” as they come up.  
  • Working adults are often responsible for aging parents as well as young children. 
  • With the cost of living continually rising, many people can’t afford to take unpaid time off.  
  • Workplace burnout is on the rise, and more and more individuals are struggling with mental health issues.
  • With the employment rate so high, your business needs to be able to compete with other companies in order to attract talent. Prospective employees have the opportunity to be choosy and you don’t want to fall on the ‘not chosen’ end of the job market.     

If your paid time off policy doesn’t give your staff the time they need to take care of business and themselves, they will become less satisfied, less productive, and less inclined to stay. Plus, you’re not going to find anyone who wants to join (or stay on) your team.  

The bottom line here is this: recognize your employees have human lives, support them appropriately, and they’ll feel recognized, appreciated, and supported. Which leads to happier, more engaged and more loyal employees. What’s good for them is what’s good for you. 


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Is your broker truly excited about organizational problem solving and helping you design an employee benefits strategy that helps you recruit top talent and makes your job easier? If not, give us a call. We live for this stuff!   


Photo by Dean Drobot

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