Trend Alert: More Canadian Tech Companies Are Starting to Offer Unlimited Vacations

The thought of unlimited vacation sounds like a dream come true, not an actual policy your employer would offer. But for workers at Waterloo’s Miovision, it has become their reality.

Miovision a traffic management company, is the latest Canadian employer to offer unlimited vacation time, following the lead of Vancouver’s BuildDirect.

And for the staff at Miovision, unlimited time off refers to ‘flex vacation,’ which means all 110 employees must take at least three weeks paid vacation a year, CEO Kurtis McBride told the Toronto Star.

“Ultimately, we are all passionate about what we do and are hard-working professionals,” said McBride. “We just decided we didn’t need to babysit the staff. They are quite capable of deciding how much time they need, while still getting the work done.”

All that is required of Miovision staff is that when they are working on projects they need to plan their vacation time, if needed, into the project schedule so they never leave their team members in a bind.

Vancouver’s BuildDirect, which is an online home improvement marketplace, follows a similar model.

“These are high-quality people, who will come back more refreshed, better than ever,” said Jeff Booth, Chief Executive Officer.

“We feel it’s the right thing for our employees. Instead of measuring hours, we measure output,” Booth told the Star, also adding that he took seven weeks of vacation last year including a three-week trip to Vietnam.

BuildDirect’s policy means all 300 employees have access to unlimited paid vacations, while limiting it to no more than four consecutive weeks, although a manager could give the sign-off on longer periods.

And while these Canadian companies are offering this flexibility as a means to attract and retain employees and it appears to be working, the Star reports that this sense of freedom hasn’t always worked for other companies in the past.

Crowdfunding website Kickstarter was originally offering unlimited vacations. But the company had to revert back to fixed vacation days last fall because the open-ended policy left employees feeling uneasy about taking days off, especially if they were taking an appropriate amount of time or too much.

In 2014, the Tribune company, which publishes the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, had to end its voluntary vacation time after a matter of weeks because long-time employees were unhappy with the sudden disappearance in value of vacation days they had accrued over time.

But as for the companies that are still moving forward with this tactic, as long as their employees are happy and feeling recharged after a quick vacation, chances are their work output will be better than ever.