How unlimited vacations work, the rising job benefit that will have a difficult time in Spain

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We have all thought at some point when we return from vacation: if I could, I would take two more weeks. A desire that in some American companies, especially in the technology sector, is becoming very real. And it is that more and more tech companies offer unlimited paid vacations as a benefit to their employees. According to data from the Indeed employment portal collected by Quartz, between 2015 and 2019 the number of offers with this benefit in the United States increased by 178%. AND other studies carried out in the North American country point in the same direction, although with more modest figures.

Unlimited days off. The premise of this employment benefit is as simple as it is shocking: the employee does not have a fixed number of paid vacation days assigned, he can take as many as he wants with the only limitation that he must coordinate with the rest of the workers on his team or the company. to ensure that the business goes ahead without their absence being noticed.

From Indeed They point out that these types of benefits are usually given, above all, in companies that work by objectives, mainly technological but not only in that sector, and in which other measures of labor and time flexibility have already been adopted.

who offer it. Some of the first companies to offer unlimited vacations to their employees were Uber (that we know of only in the United States) and Netflix (Around the world, including Spain, as Xataka has learned). These were followed by companies like Glassdoor, Hubspot, Dropbox or VMware, although only in the US.

In Spain, one of the first companies to offer unlimited paid vacations was Good Rebels, which adopted this policy five years ago, according to what its managers explained to El Periódico. Other companies that offer this benefit in Spain are xceed or cyberclick. All of them ensure that this policy makes employees more relaxed and happy, which allows them to perform better and that the feeling of belonging to the company grows.

The difference with the United States. Despite these examples, the reality is that in Spain this benefit hardly has any scope, and it is likely that it never will. And it is that the measure, which at first seems enormously advantageous for the employee, may be being promoted by some companies in the United States so that their workers take, paradoxically, fewer days off than they would if they had a fixed number assigned.

A study of the human resources consultancy Namely points out that workers at companies that offer this benefit in the United States take fewer vacations (13 days on average per year) than those who have a limited number assigned (15 days). This may be because employees have a high workload that is holding them back, competition among colleagues is high, or they are afraid that their bosses will think they are not fully engaged, among other factors.

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This happens because the North American country is the only one in the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) that does not contemplate a minimum paid and mandatory vacation period in its legislation, so that the allocation of these remains in the hands of the companies when negotiating working conditions with the professional. Thus, if the company offers flexibility in days off, the responsibility, as well as the pressure not to exceed, falls on the employee, which can end up getting him to work more than if he establishes a fixed number in the contract.

Spanish law. In Spain, however, the status of workers establishes, in its article 38, that although “the paid annual vacation period, not substitutable for economic compensation, will be agreed in the collective agreement or individual contract, in no case will the duration be less than 30 calendar days” or, what which is the same, 22 business days.

In this way, in Spain the advantages for employers suggested by the Namely study are not as important as they could be in a less regulated labor market such as the United States, since the Workers’ Statute obliges employers to provide a minimum period extensive paid vacation. Nor is it a labor policy that employees are demanding, for the moment, with force, as is the case with teleworking or, to a lesser extent, with the four-day work week.

We have all thought at some point when we return from vacation: if I could, I would take two more…

We have all thought at some point when we return from vacation: if I could, I would take two more…

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