Microsoft is looking to join other large technology companies and embrace a controversial employee benefit: unlimited vacation time.
As reported by The Verge, Microsoft has announced a new unlimited vacation policy, called “Discretionary Time Off,” for its employees. The policy, which will come into effect starting on January 16, will allow employees to take as much time off as they need rather than accruing particular amounts of paid time off.
According to Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft’s chief people officer, the decision to implement an unlimited vacation policy was based on the changes the company has undergone over the pandemic. The company wants to match a flexible vacation policy with its flexible work options.
“How, when, and where we do our jobs has dramatically changed,” explains Hogan in the internal memo. “And as we’ve transformed, modernizing our vacation policy to a more flexible model was a natural next step.”
The unlimited vacation policy is a significant departure from traditional vacation policies, which typically offer a fixed number of vacation days per year. This new policy, at least in theory, will give Microsoft employees more control over their work-life balance and allow them to take time off whenever they need it.
The policy doesn’t apply to all Microsoft employees. According to the report, the unlimited vacation time policy will only apply to salaried workers in the United States. Hourly and international workers will not be transitioned to the new policy at launch. The unlimited PTO comes in addition to some other time off policies that the company is still keeping:
Microsoft will offer 10 corporate holidays, leaves of absence, sick and mental heath time off, and time away for jury duty or bereavement alongside this new unlimited time off policy. Employees that have an unused vacation balance will get a one-time payout in April.
Microsoft joins other major technology companies like Salesforce, LinkedIn, Oracle, and Netflix with its new unlimited vacation policy.