Microsoft Is Now Giving Its Employees Unlimited Vacation Days

Microsoft recently revised its employee benefits package, and as a result, salaried US employees will now get unlimited vacation time, without needing to accrue any hours.

By Jennifer Hollohan | Published

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The pandemic forced many companies to rethink what they need from employees and what the overall work environment should look like. Many chose to make sweeping changes or close offices in favor of a remote work environment. And now, Microsoft employees are the next wave of workers to get good news about their work life.

The tech giant employs 221,000 people globally, with 122,000 living in the US. And some of those US-based employees just got some amazing news on Wednesday. According to The Verge, the chief people officer, Kathleen Hogan, sent out an email about updated benefits to salaried employees.

Microsoft plans to roll out a new, enhanced benefits package. It goes into effect on January 16. And it may be enough to encourage you to snag a job there before they all fill up.

Much of that benefits package includes standard items. Salaried employees will get bereavement and jury duty leave, 10 paid holidays, mental health and sick time off, and leaves of absence. All great, but nothing to get too excited about.

The good news arrives with an adjustment to how the company plans to tackle time off. As of the 16th, salaried employees will no longer have to submit official time off requests. And that is thanks to what Microsoft calls “Discretionary Time Off.”

The Verge got a peek at Hogan’s internal memo. In it, she said, “How, when, and where we do our jobs has dramatically changed. And as we’ve transformed, modernizing our vacation policy to a more flexible model was a natural next step.”

But what exactly does that mean? The best part is that employees, even new ones, no longer have to accrue vacation hours. They can now take off when and as they see fit. 

Plus, Microsoft will pay out any existing time off that salaried staff has banked. Employees will receive that lump sum in April. This shift puts a lot more trust and power into employees’ hands.

However, Microsoft is not the first major tech company to transition to unlimited time off. Others include Oracle, Salesforce, LinkedIn, and Netflix. All have established a variation of unlimited time off for their staff.

This move is the latest in a string of steps Microsoft has taken to improve employee satisfaction. Recently, the company allowed some staff to remain working remotely permanently. And it offered $1,500 bonuses during the pandemic.

The only downside is that the “Discretionary Time Off” policy doesn’t apply to all Microsoft employees. Employment regulations and laws in other countries prevent the tech giant from offering a similar benefit to overseas employees. So they will retain their existing benefits package.

Additionally, hourly employees got the bad news that they don’t qualify for unlimited time off. “Microsoft says federal and state wage and hour laws make it difficult to offer unlimited time off to hourly workers.” And while that’s unfortunate, the company has a proven track record of taking care of its staff.

So, with any luck, Microsoft will find a way to do something innovative for its hourly employees. Keep an eye on the news for updates. And if you are looking for a new job, start firing off your resume!