UK firm offers unlimited holidays to prevent staff burnout

Some employees prefer getting stressed out instead of taking a break

By Web Desk

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Reuters file photo
Reuters file photo

Published: Sat 20 Nov 2021, 4:28 PM

Long hours at work in financial firms in London is taking a heavy toll on the employees, but many prefer to get stressed out instead of taking holidays and relaxing.

Worried about the impact it has on the quality of life of its employees, a leading UK firm has offered unlimited paid breaks to its 155 staff.

Sam Smith, chief executive of FinnCap, told the media that investment bankers, sales people and others will have to take a minimum of at least four weeks off annually and two or three days every month, according to a BBC report.

“Burnout is not resolved by a quick two-week holiday,” she pointed out.

“It is resolved by properly changing the way you work.” Smith started the firm in 2007 and was the City’s first female stockbroker chief. She has also informed employees that visits to vets or plumbers would not be taken as holiday leave.

“There’s not a maximum, there’s a minimum you must take. The rest is up to you,” she said.

Many finance firms are confronting the challenges, but finding it difficult to overcome. Goldman Sachs, for instance, reacted to reports of a leaked survey that revealed that ‘inhumane’ expectations from its employees were the triggering off mental health issues. The long-hour work culture is common in the world of high finance.

Surprisingly, when companies including Netflix and LinkedIn offered ‘unlimited vacations’ to employees, the staff took fewer days off.

CharlieHR, a software firm in London had to abandon its unlimited holiday policy and less leave was taken by some.

“Unlimited leave sounds like a nice idea in theory, but for it to work you need to have a workplace culture where it's acceptable to take the leave on offer,” Rachel Suff of Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, told the media.

“It should also not be used to allow unhealthy working practices to go unchallenged.”

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