Survey: Is Unlimited Time Off a Good Perk for Tech Pros?

How much time off are you taking?

The most recent Dice Salary Survey shows benefits are becoming increasingly valuable for tech pros. With salary levels plateauing in tech, perks are quickly becoming the new currency by which we measure the value of a job.

Of all the add-ons an employer can provide, time off is the most enticing. The ability to take more frequent or longer vacations (or both!) at least affords you something to look forward to when you’re working long hours on a project.

Still, there’s a balance to time off for tech pros and employers alike. As Inc. points out, unlimited time off, considered a “hot” perk at many tech firms, is a bit of an illusion. It might also have the effect of compelling employees to take less time off than they might have otherwise. From the publication:

Paid time off is a publicity stunt. Most companies know that their best employees aren’t going to take advantage of it. And by leaving the policy open and “up to the employee” managers are now creating a different kind of competitive environment, one that encourages taking less time off, rather than more.

As perks become more enticing, companies may start to dangle these types of carrots to tech pros. The thought of “unlimited, paid time off” is exciting, but the idea of leaving your team to pick up the slack is not an easy one to overcome for many tech pros.

And companies might be blurring the lines. In 2015, Kickstarter ended its unlimited time off policy because people were taking fewer days away from the office. Employees’ reasoning for working too much? They didn’t have clear guidelines on how much time off was appropriate, or any guidance from management.

So we want to hear from you! What are your feelings about unlimited time off? Would you want your company to offer it, or do you think it’s best to limit how much time tech pros can spend away from their desk? Sound off via our survey below. We’ll publish the results in a future article.

3 Responses to “Survey: Is Unlimited Time Off a Good Perk for Tech Pros?”

  1. We already have it. We are an international company and each country has its own rules about vacation so I guess we opted to let managers handle it. Since we have a lot of young people, it seems that they tend not to take the full two weeks per year. On the flip side, we have a lot of people from India who typically take 3-4 weeks to go visit family. Nice that I could probably do that if I want, but I typically take 10-15 days per year, after 5 years here.

  2. I actually prefer the ability to accrue a certain amount of paid vacation as an employer liability upon my departure. The flip side of “unlimited time off” is that if you don’t use it, your employer has no liability, so employees that take less are literally subsidizing their employer while employees that take more are taking greater advantage of their employer.

    I generally came pretty close to the 2 weeks per year rule during my tenure at an employer that had this approach, but I wasn’t thrilled with it.