Sounds like Matt Asay is shopping around for vacation policies. Matt points to an associate’s policy of stopping vacation accrual at six weeks as a way of encouraging employees to use their vacation.
At Navigator, we had a vacation policy everyone loved–we had no policy. We expected everyone to behave like adults and take the vacation they needed when they needed it. Some folks took a week or two a year while others took three or four. But no one had to worry about accruals or carryovers or time banks or any other silly thing. If you were sick, you stayed home. If you were wrapping up a project and needed some down time, you took the time off. Even as the company grew and we began to hire younger recruits, I never saw any instance of abuse.
Of course the “no policy” policy didn’t do anything to encourage people to take vacations. And, on termination, no one wrote you a check for the unused accrued vacation. But we all loved the flexibility and the freedom. It was certainly a factor people considered when they looked at alternative employers. You might not ever take the time off, but even a four-week vacation policy seemed restrictive in comparison.
Stop the end-of-year use-it-or-lose-it madness and jettison your vacation policy altogether.