News In Brief

Would you like unlimited vacation days?

Daryl Paranada Aug 16, 2010

If you could take as many vacation days as you want, would you?

Netflix, the Silicon Valley-based DVD movie subscription service company, has a policy that allows salaried employees to take off as much time as they’d like for vacation. Nobody tracks vacation days at the company, and as long as your manager knows where you are and your work is covered, you can head off to Greece or Brazil for however long you want.

We had an interesting discussion at the morning meeting about how effective this sort of policy could be. Our own Stacey Vanek-Smith says she would be very cautious and scared about having this sort of policy.

“It sounds like this great thing, but I’d imagine there would be all this internal pressure to not take a lot of time off,” she says, pointing out that you wouldn’t want to appear like a slacker compared to other employees.

Still, the flexible policy doesn’t seem to have hurt the company. In July, Netflix reported second-quarter earnings of $43.5 million, compared with $32.4 million earnings for the same period last year. The company also said it added 1 million new subscribers, bringing its total number of subscribers to 15 million.

And even if the ultra-flexible policy were available to workers, it’s not a guarantee that employees would take advantage of it. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll showed that only two-thirds of employees worldwide use all the holidays they are given by their workplace.

About 12,500 people from 24 countries were surveyed, and results show that the French were most likely to use their allotted time off while the Japanese were the least likely to use their vacation time. The survey shows that only 57 percent of Americans would use all their leave.

A list of workers most likely to use all of their leave:

  • France 89 percent
  • Argentina 80 percent
  • Hungary 78 percent
  • Britain 77 percent
  • Spain 77 percent
  • Saudi Arabia 76 percent
  • Germany 75 percent
  • Belgium 74 percent
  • Turkey 74 percent
  • Indonesia 70 percent
  • Mexico 67 percent
  • Russia 67 percent
  • Italy 66 percent
  • Poland 66 percent
  • China 65 percent
  • Sweden 63 percent
  • Brazil 59 percent
  • India 59 percent
  • Canada 58 percent
  • United States 57 percent
  • South Korea 53 percent
  • Australia 47 percent
  • South Africa 47 percent
  • Japan 33 percent

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