In the U.S., one in four employees gets no paid time off at all. Most of those are lower paid employees and the least likely to afford time off. Another almost 7 percent of people are self employed, so again, no paid time off.
Even for those who do get paid time off, it’s just that, paid time off. There’s rarely anything extra. One company in Colorado is a big exception, though. Every year they give each and every employee an extremely generous $7,500, on top of their regular pay, to take a trip wherever they want. There is one caveat, though, they have to unplug. That means they aren’t even allowed to answer work emails.
Bart Lorang, co-founder of Denver-based Full Contact knows that to attract the best people, they need not just a great working environment, they occasionally need to get completely away from work.
Not surprisingly, the benefits at the company are amazing. Not only do they pay for the annual vacation, they pay you to work from either Denver or Latvia (their other location) once a year and they pick up the entire tab, including travel and lodging.
Here’s the video:
You probably won’t be surprised to know that their positions are specialized and competitive, although they are hiring.
While Full Contact should be lauded for their vacation policy, it’s still a benefit available to an elite type of employee. Americans overall have the least vacation time of any developed country. We don’t even require that companies provide paid sick leave, which far too often means that the person cooking or serving your food came to work sick, because he or she couldn’t afford to take time off.
At the same time, Americans are working a whole lot harder than we ever have and for less money. While most employees do get paid vacation, nearly half of those don’t take it, in part because they have too much work. Others are scared that they won’t come back to a job at all.
Not coincidentally, more than half of employees feel they are overworked and overwhelmed. This leads to mistakes, can lead to attitude problems and can affect employees’ health.
Few companies could probably afford the benefits offered by Full Contact, but as a nation, can we afford not to offer paid time off?