Tired of only two weeks of vacation a year? Perhaps you should work for Virgin—where boss Richard Branson believes employees should be allowed to take off as much time as they want.
The self-made billionaire laid out Virgin’s vacation policy on the company’s website in a blog post on Wednesday entitled “Why we’re letting Virgin staff take as much holiday as they want”.
“Flexible working has revolutionized how, where and when we all do our jobs. So, if working nine to five no longer applies, then why should strict annual leave (vacation) policies?” Branson said in the post that was excerpted from his book “The Virgin Way”.
Staff at parent company Virgin Group are already allowed to take off however much time they want, whenever they feel like it—with the caveat that it should not impinge on the business. There is no need to ask for prior approval or keep track of days away from the office. Branson said that if successful, the policy would be rolled out across all of the company’s subsidiaries.
“It is left to the employee alone to decide if and when he or she feels like taking a few hours, a day, a week or a month off,” Branson wrote.
Branson provided little detail of how a free-for-all vacation policy works in practice, but said he was inspired by Netflix‘s “no vacation policy”. Employees of the U.S. online movie rental service are also allowed to choose how much holiday to take and time off is not tracked.
Branson is one of the U.K.’s most high-profile entrepreneurs and people were quick to comment on his post on Wednesday – although opinions were mixed.
Reader Zac Young wrote on Branson’s blog: “As always, leading the way for Generation Y. I hope someday, before my time is done—that most can enjoy more freedom through work, not enslaved by hours and limits but set free to make a difference whilst living out some dreams.”
However, Andrea Gerhardt was more skeptical. “Needless to say I work for Virgin Australia as cabin crew and this policy doesn’t apply!! A huge majority of staff go years without getting any of their requested leave,” she wrote.
Branson is worth around $5 billion according to Forbes. He is known for his publicity stunts, which include launching Virgin Cola by driving a tank down New York’s Fifth Avenue and “blowing up” the Coca-Cola sign in Times Square.
Branson’s profile on Twitter describes him as a “Tie-loathing adventurer and thrill seeker, who believes in turning ideas into reality. Otherwise known as Dr Yes at Virgin!”