Limitless Leave Leads to Limitless Complications for Small Businesses

limitless leave

Have you heard of the new trend for companies offering their employees an unlimited amount of annual leave? Are you wondering if maybe, you should give it a try?  If so, I have some important advice for you.

Even though articles such as- 3 reasons companies like LinkedIn, Virgin, and Netflix are giving their employees ‘unlimited’ vacation, from the Business Insider Australia, emphasize the benefits of promoting a limitless policy, it is best to not let yourself get distracted by all of the talk. It is best for small businesses to stay clear of promoting these types of incentives because in order for policies like this to be successful, they must be managed properly. 

This can sidetrack a small business owner who already has enough to deal with without the added stressors of trying out a new policy that may, or may not, benefit their business. Plus, the benefits for promoting unlimited leave for a large company is not the same for how it would impact a small business. 


On paper, this policy looks ideal because employees carry a zero balance regarding annual leave, which could save businesses a lot of money because upon exiting, the business wouldn’t have to worry about pay outs for accrued leave. What this fails to consider are the potential losses in profitability the policy may cause. Smaller businesses have fewer employees so it is important to consider the fact that with fewer workers, generally comes positions with more responsibility and involvement in the day-to-day operations for a business. For this reason, it is important that employees plan for taking leave because they usually have to find someone to cover for them. As you can imagine if they don’t prearrange for their absence, it can directly impact the profitability of the business and not, in a good way. So my point is that even though, it may seem like adopting this policy would be beneficial, it probably wouldn’t be and it is risky because you would also be assuming that your new hire wouldn’t take it upon themselves to abuse the privilege you are so graciously, providing them with.

It is also important to think about whether you are you comfortable promoting a policy that isn’t the most conducive to promoting a healthy work environment. I say this because when it comes to annual leave, it is important retain structure because as the employer, you want to help your employees maintain a proper work-life balance and promote a healthy workplace culture for all. Remember, happy employees are generally productive employees so, why in the world would you want to promote an environment where employees are overworked, tired and not happy?

To be honest, I am even wondering if these new policies are bordering on some type of psychological bullying because as the article mentions, the language used to describe the new “limitless” policies is vague and tends to exude a social pressure to actually, work more. Again, is this really the type of environment you want to be promoting?

As a business owner, I can confidently advise you that you have bigger fish to fry than this so, forget about the idea of limitless. My final advice to small business owners is to have a clear policy on annual leave so that people aren’t taking it at the wrong times and to also make sure, people take their leave regularly.

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