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Unlimited holidays fast becoming a must-have perk

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With the hottest talent constantly in demand, one employee benefit that organisations are increasingly using to lure the best and the brightest is unlimited vacation time.

And with the rise of technology enabling more roles to be “on” 24/7, the standard two weeks’ holiday (de rigueur in Hong Kong and the United States) just isn’t cutting it any more. Although in Hong Kong, the minimum number of annual leave days starts at just seven.

To put this into perspective, the statutory minimum number of days off employees receive in the United Kingdom is 28, while in France it’s 25, not including public holidays. And in Germany, employees can enjoy up to six weeks annual leave a year.

According to data from recruitment site Indeed, the number of job postings advertising unlimited leave is rising fast. In the US alone, unlimited holiday leave, or paid time off, has increased from around 450 postings per million in 2015 to almost 1300 postings per million in 2019 – an increase of 178%.

Not surprisingly, this employee benefit is most commonly found in the technology sector, with highly sought-after software engineers and data scientists up to eight times more likely than jobs in other occupations to offer unlimited vacations. But non-tech employers are also starting to implement unlimited leave policies.

Two well-known companies now embracing an unlimited leave policy are Dropbox and white goods giant General Electric. While accounting firm Ernst & Young (EY) has starting giving its Australian employees up to 12 weeks of “life leave” each year to travel, work part-time, or simply chill.

In a competitive labour market, where employers are seeking to get creative with employee benefits, unlimited time off can be an attractive perk to recruit and retain talent across the board – from Millennials fresh to the workforce through to senior executives. Although, it is fair to say, it’s still some way off becoming an established practice in Hong Kong.

But, in addition to facilitating more flexibility for workers, the policy can improve workplace culture and boost employee morale. With studies increasingly showing the harmful impact of working excessive overtime – such as poor work performance and an adverse affect on health – unlimited paid leave may just be the ticket.

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