Microsoft will allow its employees to take unlimited time off

An HR strategy to boost productivity? Microsoft has just reviewed its employee leave management policy. The company’s workers will no longer see their vacation days officially counted by the company, according to an internal note consulted by our colleagues from The Verge.

New recruits also concerned

The measure was announced to all employees of the Redmond firm in an email sent by Kathleen Hogan, director of human resources. In the email, Microsoft discusses a new method of managing time off called “discretionary time off” or discretionary free time in French. These unlimited number of vacations will concern all of the group’s American incumbent workers. The measure will apply to both employees who have been in the company for several years and to new recruits.

At the same time, the management of Microsoft announces the automatic obtaining of 10 public holidays. Workers will also be able to take rest days for reasons related to mental health, illness, bereavement or jury duty (during a trial). The company’s new policy is expected to go into effect on January 16. Employees who then have a positive balance of paid leave will receive a single payment of the latter in April.

When, how and where we do our work has changed dramatically. And as we transformed, modernizing our vacation policy to a more flexible model was a natural next step.“, justifies the director of human resources. The new HR policy will not, however, concern employees paid by the hour and workers outside the United States for regulatory reasons.

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A double-edged sword?

Microsoft is not the first technology company to apply such a measure. Oracle and Netflix have already made similar arrangements.

Unlimited time off is good for employees and good for business, says Microsoft spokesperson Bloomberg. Taking unlimited leave is based on mutual trust and often proves to be linked to an objective for the employees concerned. By taking this resolution, the company says it has weighed the pros and cons and thinks it can guarantee workers sufficient days off.

Behind the announcement effect of unlimited holidays, we are faced with real hypocrisy, a strong illusion. Companies that promote this system point out that their employees often only take two to five days off more than the average.“, nuanced however in August 2022 Jean-Christophe Villette, occupational psychologist quoted by West France.

For the company, taking leave without counting facilitates administrative procedures (no declaration is necessary) and optimizes expenses during dismissals. The dismissed employees having no pay, the group therefore has no compensation to pay.

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