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Sick Days, Personal Time, Holidays & Vacation? Why Not ‘Free Time Off’ Instead?

palm treesLet’s wrap up the week on a fun note, shall we?

When we read this piece on Forbes, we soared into the air with delight. (Okay, more like a little leap of joy but we digress.) Could this perhaps be a trend for other companies to follow?

According to Craig Malloy, CEO of Bloomfire, a social knowledge base application that enables teams to find, share and create contentstaid corporate vacation and sick leave policies are ancient.

Remarking they “have always seemed silly to me,” the executive at the Austin-based company poses the million dollar question: “Why do our colleagues in Europe get far more vacation than Americans?”

Plus, considering more and more companies are forcing employees to use vacation days when they’re sick by lumping them into a PTO category (as in paid time off), people to come into work when they’re feeling sick and simultaneously spread their germs.

Enter the FTO policy (as in free time off). He indicates in the piece it’s all about trusting employees to take time off they need and as much of it, too.

“It’s up to the employee and their manager to schedule their time off – balancing personal and business needs. No more PTO, sick days, vacation request forms, or accounting accruals. And you know what we found? When you treat people like mature responsible adults, they act like mature responsible adults. Our employees love it and they don’t abuse it. I don’t know how prevalent this is becoming among companies but I would highly recommend it.”

So, from an employer perspective wouldn’t employees abuse the policy? Au contraire. “In reality, what happens at our company is that employees take the time off that they need and they make sure the work gets done. And I think they respect and like the fact that I treat them like the responsible, mature adults they are.”

Here’s the kicker: It seems their policy is more about trusting and respecting the employee which will probably boost productivity as well. Pointing out this is “good culture and good business,” he adds, “How much GDP do you think is wasted in the U.S. every year tracking and enforcing vacation and sick leave? And if you think your employees are gaming and cheating you on vacation, why are they still on your team?”

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