“Holidays without limits”, what they are and which companies in Italy offer them


There is an ongoing revolution in the world of work stemming from the need to improve workers’ well-being as the “time” factor becomes more and more decisive. If companies used to dictate the law on working hours and places, now it is the employees who force the old order with the phenomenon of “big resignations” who impose a new working model. The United States has made great strides in this direction, even going so far as to make vacation time unlimited for employees to prevent talent escape. What is “unlimited vacation” and how does it work? Are there companies that also offer these in Italy? Let’s go in order.

The phenomenon of “big resignations”

Covid has given birth to a new way of working by cleaning up smart working all over the world. From then on it became difficult to go back and more and more people decided to resign to find a solution that would allow them to better reconcile work and private life.

The phenomenon of “great resignations” that emerged in the United States spread to Europe, including Italy. According to the data announced by the Ministry of Labor, there were 1 million 660 thousand resignations in the first nine months of 2022, which is 22% more than in 2021. Why do so many people decide to resign? Because they are no longer satisfied with the work they do, they pursue a career and earn higher salaries, but also because they seek better working conditions that will enable them to live a less stressful life.

Unlimited holidays: what are they

Covid has changed working paradigms, pushing more and more people (especially young people) to jobs that can be done remotely, not remotely, but in agile mode. The research is not limited to smart work, but also flexibility in working hours and days. This is due to the realization that personal well-being comes first, and also because the cost of living in city centers (where offices are concentrated) is very high.

And that’s why private companies are reorganizing themselves to prevent the mass escape of talent and offer increasingly attractive business solutions, such as relocating anywhere in the world to work smart, live and work up to 60 days a year (like in the USA, for example). Reuters) or unlimited holidays (as in the case of Microsoft, which also provides unlimited smart work). The IT giant has informed its US employees that from January 16, they will be able to take advantage of “unlimited vacation”, “Discretionary Vacation” (DTO) plan, and “on-demand free time” to devote to one’s life. What does that mean? In case of exceeding the holiday days determined by the contract, no deduction will be made from the salary. “The way we do our work, when and where we do it has radically changed—reads the email to employees by head of human resources Kathleen Hogan. And as we transform, modernize our holiday-themed policy towards a more flexible model. It was a natural step.”

How does Microsoft unlimited employee vacation work?

Going into details, we note that not everything that glitters is gold. Microsoft offers its US employees a basic ten-day leave package, sick leave, mental health leave, death leave, jury duty leave, and other exceptional circumstances. To these are usually added company closures that apply to everyone. And then there’s the now famous unlimited paid leave to use depending on how the work is organized. There is also a one-time bonus in April for accumulated and unclaimed holidays, with an extra fee. This policy applies to US employees only, as bureaucratic and legal issues make it difficult to extend this policy to employees outside the US.

It is clear to everyone that Microsoft’s new holiday policy is beneficial not only for employees but also for the company. By calculating only 10 vacation days per year, in case of dismissal or resignation, employees will be paid less vacation pay and less administrative work will be provided. Some even fear that this new policy may lead to less use of vacation days than in the past (given the bonus), but Microsoft has assured that it will monitor to guarantee an equal minimum vacation for all.

Work-private life where we are in Italy

The first to adopt the unlimited vacation policy was British entrepreneur Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, who announced this important innovation in 2014. But is this working model really sustainable? Several studies have shown that working smart (and worker satisfaction more generally) increases productivity. American companies like Oracle, LinkedIn, Netflix, Goldman Sachs, and Salesforce, which have also embraced models like Microsoft’s on unlimited holidays, believe so. This is because employees no longer work by the hour but by goals, and while it’s true that workers can choose when and how much time off from work they need to take, it’s also true that they must meet deadlines. Thus, everyone can organize their work as they see fit and leave room for private life. Not to mention the economic and administrative advantages for the companies we mentioned above.

However, not everyone is ready to modernize on the business front. In Italy, for example, smart work (although widely used during the pandemic) is still struggling to catch up. At the moment, only hybrid work is mentioned in our country, some days presence and others remote. In some cases, even the short week application was implemented, but there are cases where we are completely back to the same working state before the pandemic. However, there is no shortage of pioneers.

Unlimited holidays, cases in Italy (very rare)

If the proportion of companies providing unlimited vacation plans in 2021 in the United States is around 4%, in Italy they can be counted on the fingertips. These include companies OneDay Group, ScuolaZoo, WeRoad and House of Talent, which have adopted an unlimited and fully paid annual leave policy since January 2022. Then, in March, it was the turn of Seedble, a management consulting firm. Velvet Media, a Veneto-based marketing company with 150 employees, is among the first Italian companies to implement the unlimited vacation policy. In June 2022, it canceled working hours and offered unlimited leave to its employees. It’s no coincidence that its motto is “Think different”.

Source: Today IT


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