The Pros and Cons of Unlimited Paid Vacation


When it comes to taking time off from work, Americans aren’t very good at it. Maybe it’s because the average U.S. employer offers only two weeks of paid vacation per year, while countries like France, Australia, and Portugal offer six or seven weeks. Plus, when Americans actually do take a vacation, they often stay tied to their job and continue to answer emails or phone calls.

So the question is – do we work too hard?

Over the past few years, the idea of unlimited paid vacation has been thrown around and has actually been implemented by a few businesses in the U.S. (about 1%). While many have seen it as a success (and a great recruiting tool), there’s a handful that haven’t. Before you decide if unlimited paid vacation is right for your business, consider the pros and cons:


  • Morale boost: Employees that are offered unlimited paid vacation are usually more enthusiastic about completing their work and have an overall happier attitude.
  • Fewer records: You won’t have to worry as much about where and how to log your employees’ sick times and vacation times.
  • More focus: Since you won’t have to worry about what counts as a sick day or a vacation day, you can focus more on your business goals and performance.
  • Trust boost: Showing your employees that you trust them to get their work done and manage their time off increases their confidence and productivity.
  • Better health: When employees have the opportunity to relax and unwind when they want, they won’t wear themselves out and have a better chance of staying healthy.
  • Financial savings: Unused paid vacation days won’t be a liability on your balance sheets and you won’t need to pay out any unused days to an employee that leaves the company.
  • Low risk: Studies show that when employees are offered unlimited time off, they usually only take one or two days more than they were originally offered.


  • Lost reward: Offering unlimited paid vacation means you can’t use it as a way to reward your employees for their hard work.
  • Opposite effects: Some employees may be so afraid of an unlimited policy that they never take vacation days and in return, feel overworked.
  • Potential abuse: There are probably some employees that would take the opportunity for granted and slack on what needs to get done.

If you’re going to implement an unlimited paid vacation policy, just make sure you include the right rules and restrictions to make the opportunity work in your favor. For example: Having more than one person in a department out for a week may be a problem.

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