What You Should Know About Unlimited Vacation

It's a hip benefit at a lot of startups, and it really sounds too good to be true: unlimited vacation. No more earning days off or using up PTO for appointments and commitments! But it's worth considering why your bosses would offer such a perk. Unfortunately, it's not to make your life better.

Advertiser Paul Suggett goes so far as to call it a scam. "You have to actually have the ability to take [days] off without leaving your coworkers in a bind," he writes on LinkedIn. "Look at the ratings on Glassdoor for any company you see offering unlimited vacation. You'll see it almost always equates to less time off, not more."

There are other reasons to mistrust unlimited vacation beyond the capriciousness of your supervisor. Suggett points out that in offices with set vacation allowances, workers can usually accrue more time the longer they work. This can translate to earning extra cash if you don't wind up using those days, whether at the end of a fiscal or calendar year or when you leave the company.

"With an unlimited system, they pay for you whether you're at work or not," he writes. "Ergo, they want you at work, because when you're not there, they're not getting the benefit of that money."

Offices with unlimited vacation also may experience social pressure, both from management and other employees, to refrain from taking days off. Research published this week suggests that taking vacations can actually extend your life. If you're not certain about your workplace's vacation policy, it's worth figuring out why.