Opinion
11:54 6 June 2019
Post by: WBJ

Employment/ Extra vacation as a benefit

As much as 90 percent of employees receive non-financial perks at work, according to this year’s survey conducted by Hays Poland. Standard benefits include medical care, gym membership, company events and retreats. Employers are also increasingly interested in employee wellbeing. Extra days off and and vacation are gaining in popularity. That’s because workers consider time spent on activities outside of work as one of the most important benefits, including those that cost much more.

Employment/ Extra vacation as a benefit

The trend to increase available vacation days has yet to make its mark on the Polish market. In many other European countries, however, employers have been offering extra vacation days for years. The number of vacation days is becoming a point in negotiations between a candidate and their potential employer. In Poland, pay remains the main and most frequently negotiated aspect.

VACATION DUE

The labor code dictates that a person with less than 10 years’ work history receives 20 workdays of paid vacation a year. More than 10 years entitles an employee to 26 days of vacation. Work history also encompasses some parts of education, including vocational, higher etc. What is noteworthy is that the labor code only determines the minimum number of vacation days, while the upper limit is unspecified.

The Polish labor code therefore offers more attractive conditions compared to e.g. the US, where the law does not guarantee any paid vacation. Meanwhile, the French receive 2.5 days for every month they’ve worked, which translates into 30 days a year. The global record-holder is Kuwait with 43 vacation days.

TIME OVER MONEY

For employees, particularly the youngest generation on the labor market, free time is very valuable. One out of three employees consider extra days off as the most important benefit, making it the highest ranking perk in Hays Poland’s recent survey. Flexible work also ranks high.

Additional vacation days are appreciated not only by the youngest employees, who spend them following their passions outside of work. Working parents, who claim to have difficulties balancing work and personal life, are particularly happy about extra days off they can use when they want to participate in their child’s important moments. More free time is also important for people who want to focus on their professional development and whose work does not allow them enough time to learn new skills.Considering the needs of the employed and the growing challenges in sourcing talent, more and more employers are adjusting their offer. Over 40 percent of companies offer flexible working conditions, be it in the form of a longer break during office hours for running personal errands, home office or flexible hours when their staff can start and finish work. One in ten employers also admitted that they offer more vacation days than the labor code dictates, particularly to strategic employees, who are under the most pressure at work.

While unlimited paid vacation is still a novelty on the market, there are already some companies in Poland that offer it. Usually, employees need their entire team’s approval and strong performance records to take advantage of it.

Offering unlimited vacation could become an increasingly popular practice among organizations with a certain type of corporate culture and structures, where employees are responsible for the results of their work and where smaller teams are seen by employees as if they were individual companies. Even though unlimited paid vacation seems a novel idea, some of the best US employers have been using it for quite some time, and with good results.

BEFORE A HOLIDAY

As much as 10 percent of employers also stated that they offer all their employees additional days off, usually before major public holidays, on company anniversaries, as well as e.g. on employees’ birthdays etc. Half-day Fridays are also becoming increasingly common, in some companies all year round, in others on special occasions, such as before Easter.
Regardless of what type of time off a company offers its employees, rules need to be set and followed. An extra paid vacation can be a strong bargaining chip during negotiations. Offering days off to all staff can also build a positive employer image and help a company stand out, which is increasingly important given the growing recruitment challenges.


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