Canadian vacation

Canadian vacation times revisited: How much is enough?

Jenna Charlton|

The world would be a better place if we all had more vacation. This is the thought that occurs to me as summer winds down. Even if I’ve worked all, or most of the summer it’s hard to say good-bye to more relaxed workdays, and three long weekends in a three-month stretch. Thanksgiving weekend seems far away.

The start of September makes me begrudge Canada’s two-week mandatory vacation policy.  Ten days a year just isn’t enough. How can an employee get enough rest, and feel rejuvenated with only ten days off to do with their time as they wish? Canada, compared to many countries around to world, is dismally behind the times when it comes to government mandated vacation time. [Related article: Do Canadians need more vacation time?]

Over the summer I was speaking with a family visiting Toronto from Norway.  Yes, I know, Scandinavian countries have excellent social policies, but after speaking with this family the vacation policy alone made we want to get much more acquainted with my Danish ancestry.  Employees generally have five weeks of vacation, three of which, according to exposurejobs.com, they can take over the summer.

This makes sense to me. If, in fact the workload in your workplace slows over the summer, why not give people time off? Make people happy and they’ll probably stick around longer. Seems like good economic sense.

In fact, there are Canadian companies that have recognized that increasing vacation time can and does lead to greater productivity. Many companies give new employees three weeks vacation, and add an extra week every few years.

But there is at least one Canadian social media company that is pushing past the mandated ten-day policy and offering employees unlimited vacation. That’s right, there is at least one company in Canada that offers UNLIMITED VACATION.

The social media company has garnered much press regarding its unconventional approach; however, they aren’t the first and won’t be the last. Netflix was the first big public proponent of unlimited vacation, allowing employees to take months off at a time, and there are reports of other small social media companies traveling down the same path.

The idea is that employees aren’t judged based on their ‘face time’ but rather on their productivity and the quality of their work. At first glance this approach appears to have some merit, but the cynic in me wonders whether companies can offer unlimited vacation because the workload is so enormous it’s difficult to find the time to get away.  Maybe I’m wrong and this concept is the wave of the future – a wave I can only hope to ride.

What do you think? Would you welcome an unlimited vacation policy in your workplace? Could the company stay in business or would people simply take advantage of it? How do you think it would change your work environment?

Let us know!


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