Fiona Martin: What is the impact of introducing unlimited leave?


Unlimited paid leave is likely to attract millennials who value time off rather than large pay packets. This means they can go off and have experiences rather than buying stuff.

This is a powerful incentive, for those employers that have to compete for the very best talent, to adopt these type of policies. For example, employers in the digital media sector have a huge shortage of experienced developers and often have to rely on freelancers to fill the gaps.

The benefit of unlimited leave policies has been well publicised by organisations such as Visualsoft. These include better health and wellbeing among their workforce with increased motivation, thus creating a culture of trust.

Last year, LinkedIn announced that it would introduce unlimited holiday from November 2015. Although there was no set maximum limit, under this system employees would ‘work with their manager’ to request time off. This suggests limitations are in place to ensure that the needs of the business are met over and above the employees’ requests for holiday.

We have yet to hear from Virgin and other organisations that led the way in introducing unlimited holiday, as to how these types of unlimited leave practices are working in the long term.

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Although rights and responsibilities tend to go together, most employers recognise that some employees are better at taking responsibility than others. It would be interesting to find out whether these types of policies have led to a greater number of employees failing their probationary period.

Fiona Martin is director and head of employment law at Martin Searle Solicitors