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The holiday season is coming up and you may find your colleagues busily booking vacations and planning their year-end trip. A vacation is especially important for Hongkongers who are leading the world in working hours – 50 a week, and according to the law, employers only have to offer seven days of paid annual leave.
While our companies and government don’t offer much, it is interesting to see what other organisations offer. Glassdoor has identified the highest rated companies for vacation and paid time off in the United States, based on benefits reviews shared by their own employees.
The biotechnology company, headquartered in California, gives employees three weeks of vacation plus two shut down weeks over the Fourth of July and Christmas. As the Amgen employees said: “to start with five weeks is pretty amazing”. While this may be average by European standards, it is something our local workers don’t even dare to dream about.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre
The New York-based private cancer centre gives staff up to 20 vacation days, plus float holiday days, sick days and personal days. The company embraces the culture of taking time off to recharge. “Nobody asks questions or makes you feel guilty for taking the time either which is a breath of fresh air,” as quoted by one employee.
Starting from day one, full or part-time employees can accrue paid time off and vacations which can be taken in one-hour increments. For example, if an employee worked 32 hours a week, he or she could use 32 hours of vacation to take a week off (instead of 40). Employees report they can get three weeks per year at the start of employment, five weeks per year after five years of employment, and seven weeks per year after 10 years of employment. The math seems really complicated, but who cares when they are getting so much time off.
The excellent benefits on offer at Google are well-documented. When it comes to vacations, employees say they can start off with three weeks of paid time off and work their way up to five weeks if they stay with the company for five years. They can also take up to three months of unpaid sabbatical. Given that managers are good at “providing space to actually take allotted time off”, employees say they feel like they essentially have unlimited vacations.
Employees at the agricultural biotech company said they have “excellent vacation schedules and holiday packages”. In addition to being upgraded to four weeks paid time off in the second full calendar year, workers reported they can get an additional week off between Christmas and New Year.