Unlimited vacation? A stroke of genius or madness?

Unlimited vacation? A stroke of genius or madness?

Incredible as it may seem today, for most of the time that the species homo sapiens has walked this planet, it has not been entitled to a holiday. It is, after all, an achievement that has only been with us for a very short time.

Author: Tomáš Bajgar

People in the Czech Republic are usually entitled to four weeks of paid time off a year, which is still quite generous, unlike in the USA. Although this does not apply absolutely.

In the United States, a number of companies have the option to choose so-called unlimited vacation. However, the first pioneers have already appeared in our country.

The first pioneers

Although the USA has the largest number of companies with unlimited holidays, the first ones were Brazilians, namely Semco company in 1981.

Later, the principle was copied mainly by American companies in California's Silicon Valley. From there, the idea spread further until it finally arrived in our meadows and groves.

How does it work?

Each company has slightly different rules, of course, but the basics are more or less the same. Whenever an employee needs to take a vacation, he makes arrangements with his supervisor and simply take time off.

The institute of unlimited leave was introduced mainly because of the huge amount of overtime, which often takes place not on the company premises but at home. There are a huge number of employees who, after coming home from work, still do various work-related tasks at home, but they are not paid for this. This, for obvious reasons, leads at best to reduced loyalty to the employer and at worst to burnout.

Thus, the ability to take unlimited vacation time motivates many existing employees to perform better, while it is a major attraction for the potential future workforce.


So far, this sounds like a nightmare for all employers. It's not so bad after all. Of course, unlimited leave is not for everyone. Where there is shift work, this principle is unlikely to ever be introduced as it would collapse the whole system for such companies.

Moreover, even in places where unlimited leave is already standard, it is not possible to take it whenever one asks for it. It always has to be approved by the supervisor, who of course never calls for it until the employee has completed all assigned tasks.

This can take many weeks or even months. In extreme cases, the employee may end up getting less time off under unlimited leave than he or she would be entitled to under regular leave.

Clever concept

While at first glance it might seem that the advent of unlimited vacation means the ultimate victory of procrastination, this is far from the case.

It's just a handy tool to streamline your workload. Sometimes an employee can gain significantly from it, while other times they are more likely to lose out.