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Employees offered as much holiday as they want: Virgin copies Netflix

25 September 2014 #Employment

The BBC reports today that Sir Richard Branson, is offering his personal staff at Virgin as much holiday as they want, whenever they want.

Not all Virgin staff are being offered this benefit, we hasten to add. It is thought to apply to 170 of his personal staff. This link is a blog which is an excerpt from a forthcoming book by Mr Branson on his website.

The plan is that there should be no need for the employee to ask for approval, nor say when they planned to return, the assumption being that the absence would not damage the firm.

Mr Branson says he was inspired by his daughter, who read about a similar plan at the online TV firm Netflix.

"It is left to the employee alone to decide if and when he or she feels like taking a few hours, a day, a week or a month off," wrote the billionaire.

"The assumption being that they are only going to do it when they feel 100% comfortable that they and their team are up to date on every project and that their absence will not in any way damage the business - or, for that matter, their careers!"

He added that he had introduced the policy in the UK and the US "where vacation policies can be particularly draconian". If it goes well there, Mr Branson said he would encourage subsidiaries to follow suit.

"We should focus on what people get done, not on how many hours or days worked. Just as we don`t have a nine-to-five policy, we don`t need a vacation policy," he wrote.

Clearly such an approach needs some thought in terms of the Working Time Regulations from a legal point of view. However, the implications in pure HR terms are much more interesting. Let’s see how this experiment turns out.

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