Billionaire businessman to employees: Take as much vacation time as you want

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

LONDON (CNNMoney) — Billionaire businessman Richard Branson has just given his office staff a big reason to celebrate: they can now take as much vacation as they like.

Employees at Branson’s Virgin Group can take unlimited vacation whenever they want, provided they work at one of the main offices in New York, London, Geneva or Sydney.

For now, the new policy will apply to roughly 160 employees.

Branson said Virgin subsidiaries would be encouraged to follow suit if the experiment is successful.

“Take a holiday whenever you want. Take as much holiday as you want. We’re not going to keep a check on how much holiday you take,” he said in a CNN interview.

Companies in which Virgin owns a stake, including Virgin Galactic and Virgin America, employ as many as 40,000 people.

However, the apparent giveaway may not be as generous at it seems.

The lack of a formal policy can leave some people feeling pressured to take less time off, rather than more.

Branson, who is also the author of ‘The Virgin Way,’ said in a blog post that he assumes staff will only take time off when they’re up to date with their work, and feel their absence won’t damage the business or their careers.

Branson said he was inspired by Netflix, which gives its employees unlimited holiday time.

“Treat people as human beings, give them that flexibility and I don’t think they’ll abuse it. And they’ll get the job done,” Branson told CNN during a segment set to air on Erin Burnett OutFront later this week.

Vacation policies are at the center of a debate about work-life balance as more employees routinely work late into the night on their smartphones.

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has called for a three-day work week. In return, workers would have to complete 11-hour days and stay on the job until age 70 or 75.

Policies on working time and vacation vary widely around the world.

European nations typically guarantee workers more down time than the U.S.

“The amount of holidays people are given in the States is dreadful,” the British-born Branson told CNN. “How can you find time to get to know your children if you’re working with very very little holiday time?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s