GE Offering Unlimited Time Off to Many Employees

Photo (cc) by HaJo S

General Electric has joined the ranks of companies such as Netflix and Virgin in offering unlimited time off.

The company started to offer what it calls a “permissive approach” to paid time off this year, CNN Money reports.

Per the new policy, executive- and senior-level employees are no longer subject to limits on the number of vacation, sick or personal days they can take.

CNN explains:

The idea: They can take time when they need it, assuming they’re getting their work done and have gotten their manager’s approval. …

The move is part of a broader cultural shift at GE, which recognizes that it can be more successful when it trusts and empowers its employees, according to Cara Hume, an HR leader in GE’s power and water business.

The new policy currently affects 30,000 GE employees, which is 43 percent of its salaried U.S. workforce, CNN reports. The company employs about 307,000 people worldwide, making it the largest company yet to offer unlimited time off.

British billionaire Richard Branson of Virgin Group made headlines in the fall for adopting such a policy after learning that Netflix was doing so. Branson wrote in a blog post:

It is always interesting to note how often the adjectives “smart”‘ and “simple” describe the cleverest of innovations — well, this is surely one of the simplest and smartest initiatives I have heard of in a long time and I’m delighted to say that we have introduced this same (non) policy at our parent company in both the UK and the US, where vacation policies can be particularly draconian.

He went to say that if the policy works out well at the parent company, subsidiaries will be encouraged to follow suit.

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