Some very mixed messages in this article I came across yesterday. On the one hand, giving employees more control over how they use their holiday allowance, including purchasing additional days, can only be a good thing. In that it can support flexible working arrangements and ensures that holidays can be used in a way that best suits the individual employee.
All good so far.
But this article also references an organisation that actually sells back holidays to employees. While this could be viewed as another aspect of flexible working arrangements – allowing employees, as adults, to take the holidays from work that they feel they need.
Because refunding unused vacation days from an extra week results in a payout near the end of the year, some employees at AGL Resources use it like a Christmas savings account. Others whose employers allow them to sell some of their regular vacation time also use the extra cash for the holidays.
True, in this example, only a very small minority of employees opted to sell their vacation time back to the business. But the potential is there for this to be abused. Consider the employee who *has* to sell holidays because they need the money, not necessarily because they don’t feel the need for time away from the office.
What about managers who strongly “suggest” that an employee sell back holidays, to solve that manager’s resourcing challenges?
Time away from work is an integral part of the working experience, to help employees recover from the exertions required of them at work. Going without a break from work for too long results in a negative impact on employee wellbeing, which in the longer term, negatively impacts their productivity and the success of the organisation.
In other words, it’s as much in the organisation’s interest that employees take appropriate time away from the workplace.
Maximising employee flexibility, yes. Minimising access to recovery time, in the guise of flexible benefits?