Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Vacation

It's now November, which means stores have started putting out their holiday stuff (if they haven't already!). It's also about the time that people start thinking about their holiday vacation time, so we thought we would share some of the latest thinking around vacation, and it's not just about the latest trend of "unlimited vacation" (although there is some of that mixed in). In a world that is so connected and culture that's addicted to work, it's nice to see a decent amount of writing about the topic of vacation for employees. 

1) We Offered Unlimited Vacation for One Year. Here's What We Learned. from Fast Company

"Unlimited vacation is still a hot topic among companies that are taking a fresh look at their benefits. Earlier this fall, Kickstarter axed its unlimited vacation policy, saying that it had actually encouraged employees to take less time off. Still, unlimited vacation has its advocates, particularly as an antidote to reports of work-life balance becoming ever more elusive. Other employers worry that adopting an unlimited vacation policy opens the door for workers to abuse it, harming the company's productivity. So which is it? Having recently tried a year with unlimited vacation, we've found that it's neither."

2) Amazon Adds New Perks for Workers and Opens a Bookstore from The New York Times


"Amazon, which prides itself on being surprising, is doing two predictably unpredictable things this week. First, the company is offering better benefits to its 222,000 employees. The hard-driving online retailer has traditionally not supplied its workers with many perks, at least compared to its peers in the technology sector. Jeffrey P. Bezos,Amazon’s founder, once looked toward Microsoft and said if Amazon became “a country club,” it would die, according to a book by John Rossman, a former Amazon executive. So Amazon stayed lean in the smallest things. It eschewed, for example, free snacks. And it lagged in some of the biggest things: It offered no paid paternity leave and eight weeks of maternity leave."

3) Netflix Should Ditch Its Unlimited Vacation Policy. Its CEO Is Proof. from Huffington Post

"Reed Hastings takes six weeks of vacation, and he says it's to set an example for his company. So why doesn't the Netflix CEO just set a policy of six weeks off, rather than offering the vague blanket of "unlimited" vacation?  Hastings said at a New York Times DealBook conference Tuesday that he takes six weeks off a year as part of the company's long-standing policy of "unlimited" vacation, Business Insider reported. He added that he was open about his vacations with his colleagues. "Just as you would expect, you often do your best thinking [when] you're off hiking in some mountain," Hastings said."

4) How Paid Time Off Can Hurt Your Employees from Huffington Post

"Just last month, President Obama issued an order that all companies that do work for the government must, by 2017, provide a minimum of 7 paid days off per year to their employees. He also asked Congress to pass a law doing the same for companies with more than 15 employees, a request that will very likely be ignored at least through the next presidential election. The presidential candidates have all taken sides on this issue too. Hillary Clinton has endorsed the president's position. Republican candidates like Bush and Trump are mostly mum on the issue (Bush, actually, has said he thinks Americans should "work more"). Cities around the country are not waiting around -- many are moving forward with their own PTO policies."

5) America's Vacation Problem Explained with Jennifer Lawrence GIFs from Project Time Off

"Jennifer Lawrence has become America's sweetheart in recent years. Partially because of her on-screen performances, partially from her gif-worthy reactions. Leading up to the release of the fourth and final Hunger Games movie next week, Lawrence told a reporter, "“I try to keep working so people can see other characters and other things I can do instead of taking vacation time, and now I’m aging like a president.” While I hope this is an exaggeration (the evidence points to the fact that Lawrence does, indeed, vacation), it sounds like J. Law isn't exempt from America's work martyr tendencies. Americans leave 429 million vacation days unused annually."

6) REI Will Be Closing Stores on Black Friday from Treehugger.com

"Instead of catering to deal-hungry shoppers, REI is paying its employees to spend the day outside in nature and encouraging others to join the rebellion against the biggest shopping day of the year. If you were hoping to hit up REI for some great deals this Black Friday, then you’re out of luck. The outdoor gear retailer has decided not to participate in Black Friday this year. All 143 of the company’s stores will be closing and employees will be paid to spend the day outside, rather than support the crazy and often pointless consumerism that ensues on the biggest shopping day of the year."


Lexi Gordon is a Lead Consultant for exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps organizations build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn more about our employer brand innovation, workforce research, and recruiting strategy offerings.

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