FullContact Offers Employees $7,500 To Take Their Paid Vacation

In America, vacation is a privilege, not a right. The U.S. is the only developed country that doesn't guarantee paid time off to workers. One in four private sector employees have to give up their wages for any time away, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research. But a host of new companies are recognizing that paid vacation might actually be good for their bottom line. Contact management firm, FullContact, is even paying its staff $7,500 to take their paid time off, reports Business Insider.

"The past few years I've had this totally insane idea that just wouldn't go away. It kept gnawing at me," co-founder Bart Lorang wrote on the company's blog.

The idea was not only a vacation with pay, but paying for a vacation. Given that people are sometimes anxious about taking time off from work, and anxious about spending thousands of dollars on a whimsical excursion, he decided to pay his employees $7,500 to take their paid time off.

Why $7,500? It's "enough for a family of four to take a nice vacation to Mexico for a week." But Lorang is placing no prescriptions on how to spend the break. He may personally enjoy "being on the water at an exotic location," but other employees like long March Madness weekends in Vegas, body-painting themselves at music festivals or "hanging on the couch, eating Taco Bell and watching bad cable all week."

More: 4 Ways To Find A Job While On Vacation

But there is one major condition of this gift: Employees are not allowed to work at all. Not only are they not allowed to work, they're not allowed to check emails, or Facebook, or Twitter, or anything that connects them to the crazed pinging and zinging and dinging of the real world.

This isn't simple generosity, Lorang explains. He thinks it'll build a better business. Not only will employees return refreshed and productive and not on the verge of a mental breakdown, but they will hopefully be a stronger a team. Especially at a startup, he writes, there's "often a misguided hero syndrome," where people enjoy feeling like the only person who can do a particular task. But actually relying on a single employee isn't a very good model, Lorang thinks. He hopes his new policy will encourage sharing and delegating and trust.

Other companies are radically reimagining vacation time. Netflix, as part of its "freedom and responsibility culture," offers its employees unlimited vacation time, so that productivity is gauged by amount of work done, rather than the number of days spent sitting in the office.

More: The Highest Paying Jobs With The Most Time Off

Note-taking technology firm Evernote takes the same approach. "We always try to ask whether a particular policy exists because it's a default piece of corporate stupidity that everyone expects you to have, or does it actually help you accomplish something?" CEO Phil Libin told The New York Times. By eliminating vacation limits, he feels employees are treated more like "adults" and the office like less of a "punishment." At the same time, employees are judged by the same criterion: "Did you accomplish something great?"

It's nothing less than a fundamental redefinition of work. No longer is your job an amount of time you spend doing what you're paid to do; it's completing tasks you're paid to complete.

These policies go even further than Europe, where vacation has long been a sacred right. The European Union requires that every worker gets at least four weeks of paid vacation a year, and last month, the continent's highest court ruled that if you get sick on your vacation, your company has to let you take another vacation.

There is one issue with unlimited paid vacation time, however. Notoriously work-obsessed Americans may not actually take it. As it stands, a majority of Americans leave an average of 11 vacation days unused a year, according to a 2011 survey. That's the particular genius of FullContact's scheme. "You have to go on vacation," Lorang writes, "or you don't get the money."

What would you do if your employer offered you money to take a vacation -- or unlimited time off? Share in the comments section below.

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Americans strictly follow the motto of the welcoming gates of Auschwitz: "Arbeit Macht Frei" (work will set you free). Conservative Americans (especially those who run corporations) sell the Puritan work ethic as a great American virtue. Americans proudly work hard to allow those CEO's and board memebers have lavish lifestyles, and exotic vacations they can only dream of and will never see in their lifetimes. It's time for the working and middle class to break away from the oppressive and exploitive republican party, and the inept and complicit Democrat party and form a true labour party which will sincerely look after their interests. Mandating a minimum annula leave is one great place to start.

July 15 2012 at 8:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

An Employer that cares??? Shame on them

July 15 2012 at 7:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No wonder many of the companies who offer no vacation time do not have employees that give a damn about there employers. A Job is just a Job until they fine a better one.

July 15 2012 at 7:27 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to TOM's comment

funny, and so many people call mandated holiday a form of "communisim" - government interference in free enterprise.

July 15 2012 at 7:52 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to doonooch's comment

wrong. Western Europe mandates holidays. Western Europe is not communist.

July 16 2012 at 7:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

Enjoy it what else could you do,it is free..

July 15 2012 at 3:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The military has been paying the troops for years while they are on vacation. Military members get 30 days of paid vacation every year, along with paid weekends, and are paid on holidays whether they are actually performing a job or on a day off.

Folks tend to perform better in the work place if they are able to actually afford to take a real vacation to recover from stress, and recharge their creative brains.

July 15 2012 at 2:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mesager42's comment

However, few employers require their employees be ready to go elsewhere at a moment's notice or even move there. Few employers can expect that their workers can be at work for 24 hours, if necessary, and be killed on the job. The sad part is if you're enlisted, you don't even make minimum wage until you're an E-4 and many of the lower ranking enlisted people are eligible for food stamps. While they do give 30 days of paid leave a year, if hostilities break out, and your job skills are needed, they can - and will - recall you.

July 23 2013 at 5:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Regina L. Hovey

I would visit my friends in Orange county,relax go to san diego or catalina with my family, buy things that I normally can not afford.

July 15 2012 at 12:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Although my employer allows me three weeks of paid vacation each year, I would find it very rewarding to have unlimited vacation time. I am always at work, even when I don't feel well. In fact, it takes a near death sickness for me to call out from work. I am very dedicated to my job and feel guilty when I'm not there to do my work. I believe employees that have proven dedication should be given additional perks in the workplace but I have reservations about it being available to all employees. Some employees could care less about their coworkers and the burdens they place on them when they aren't pulling their weight and/or call out frequently. To help eliminate that problem at my place of employment, my employer offers a $500 bonus to any employee who works for 1 year without any "unplanned" absences.

July 15 2012 at 12:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is absolutely insane. If they are paying someone $7500.00 to take a vacation, there must be some serious expectations on the flip side. I agree with other posters below that people are afraid to take their vacations and so am I. As a matter of fact, I'm being made to take my vacation because my company won't let us accrue any and, my job is still expected to be done while I'm away with nobody to do it. I would be surprised if that company had many employees as it doesn't sound like a very profitable idea and how would you measure the ROI on that? Hmmm....would be sweet though!

July 15 2012 at 12:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Vacation is not in my vocabular. I have to save my leave time to make up for the hours I don't get on the schedule. My employer is cutting way back on hours for those employees that are not full time. I'm NOT full time. My spouse is disabled and can't work. I must work to pay all the bills (mortgage, vehicle payment, utilities, etc..) There is no money left after paying all that. I would love to work for a company that insisted you take a PAID vacation or not get PAID the money. If I did, I'd go someplace my spouse and I have wanted to go, but never had the time or money to do so.

July 15 2012 at 12:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rharr0156's comment

I have a similar problem. I work an unusual shift for my employer, and if we are closed - through no fault of my own - I have to use a vacation day so I don't violate my own contract. (There has to be 12 hours from leaving work to coming back, and if I have to work on my usual day off, I have to come in 8 hours after I leave. No one had been able to figure it out.)

July 23 2013 at 5:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

OH my, I would take a vacation.....I have never had a real "vacation" in my whole life!!!! What a joy that would be.

July 14 2012 at 10:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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