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Uncommon Types of Leave in 2022 – Offering Time Off as a Benefit

Uncommon Types of Leave in 2022 – Offering Time Off as a Benefit

Uncommon Types of Leave in 2022 – Offering Time Off as a Benefit

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How do your employees recharge the best? Depending on the lifestyle, age, priorities, interests, and a whole bunch of other factors, requirements for leave benefits will strongly differ.

Giving your team members the time off they need and deserve is essential. But what if, instead, you thought of leave as part of your benefits package – something to enhance company culture?

This article offers some thought starters on uncommon leave types used to build employer brands and how they impact the work, worker, and workplace.

How Does Absence Management Affect Your Company Culture?

HR managers play an important role in promoting the well-being of employees. Absence policies give employees a framework to plan their time outside of work, which can positively impact their lifestyle as well as productivity at work.

Why Rethink Leave Benefits?

Many leave benefits are regulated by law, such as minimum time off for vacation days or, in many countries, parental leave.

Recently, companies have been exploring more uncommon types of leave that focus on giving employees time to discover true passions, time to recharge, and space for personal growth. But it’s not just the employee that benefits; there are several advantages for the employer, too.

young professional working from home

1) Attracting future hires

Keeping in mind that the majority of future hires are going to be Millennials or Gen Z, it is important to know what motivates them.

Those generations value mental health and work-life balance over any other form of compensation. According to a study by Glassdoor 77% of the respondents say they consider the company culture before applying.

Offering time for recovery and room for personal growth, beyond minimum requirements, can be the reason for a candidate to choose your company over another.

2) Supporting work-life balance

While working to achieve company goals, employees can sometimes set aside their personal well-being. Motivating them to have a break and recharge from time to time will ensure they keep performing when they are at work.

Companies that offer benefits to support their employees’ well-being report fewer cases of burnout, reduced absenteeism, and less employee turnover.

3) Increasing employee retention

Personal growth might look very different depending on the person. However, it is important to understand that it directly impacts the growth of your company. Some employees might want to strengthen their skills in the area they are working in which helps you to create great leaders. Others might want to grow into new areas.

Most likely employees will consider changing roles within your company before leaving and working for somebody else.

Uncommon Types of Leave Worth Considering

Along with higher salaries and attractive benefits, forward-looking companies have taken the time to rethink how employees recharge the best. What types of leave could you offer at your company to truly increase the well-being, efficiency, and motivation of your employees? We’ve taken a look at companies that value culture and employee experience and found some alternative types of leave.

Duvet days

Duvet days are unscheduled days off work that can be taken without advance notice. In contrast to sick days, there is no need to give a health reason for wanting the day off and it can be used to relax, rest, and focus on self-care. Duvet days were invented in 1997 by British PR agency August One Communications, but are still not very common.

Sabbatical leave

Sabbaticals grant an employee time off (often unpaid) to assess their personal life, career, and educational goals in a thorough and relaxed way. Compared to vacation, a sabbatical is longer and, depending on the company, typically lasts between two months and two years.

Sabbaticals strongly vary on a company level. Employees at Salesforce have the opportunity to take unpaid sabbatical leave for one week every year. Deloitte offers two types of sabbatical leave: an unpaid one-month sabbatical leave or a three-to-six-month leave for educational or personal development, in which employees receive 40% of their pre-sabbatical salary.

Educational leave

Educational leave gives employees time off from work to engage with learning activities. This could include an employee wanting to deepen their knowledge in a certain area in order to climb the career ladder or even temporarily taking on a different role to expand their knowledge in a new area.

Depending on the policy, this leave may be granted full time or part time, and education might, or might not, be sponsored by the employer. Adobe reimburses employees for educational purposes to up to 10 000 USD per year.

Volunteer time off

Volunteer time off is a leave benefit that offers employees participation in non-profit causes that they care about, such as working for a local food bank, collecting waste, or any other voluntary work.

Learning new skills has a positive effect on the emotional well-being of people as doing good can improve creates a feeling of belonging and may increase the mood of your employees. Additionally, you will be able to get some PR coverage on it, which benefits your company’s reputation and at the same time creates awareness for local communities or charities. A win-win situation.

Microsoft allows three working days for all employees to volunteer their time to any non-profit of their choice.

Unlimited holidays

Only a few companies have dared to experiment with unlimited time off (1 out of 20 in the US). The main idea is to leave the responsibility of getting work done and taking time for recovery up to the employee. It is about working hard and being rewarded with unlimited paid vacation.

In reality, this policy has sometimes resulted in employees taking fewer days off altogether. In order not to lose sight of the actual objective, sometimes guidelines are needed. Some companies therefore have rules for a maximum amount of vacation being taken within a certain period of time or a policy for minimum holidays to be taken by the employee. Oracle refers to their unlimited holidays as “flexible holidays.” Employees who want to take time off must get approval from their superiors to make sure they don’t go on vacation when their presence is critical.

Minimum holiday limits

Giving minimum holiday recommendations can be a way of offering your employees guilt-free time off. Time off is meant to allow people to recharge. Employees appreciate the support as it allows them to feel great about planning and taking restorative time away.

Winter/summer closure

Some companies take company-wide breaks for a pre-determined period of time. These are typically scheduled for one week, often between Christmas and New Year. Companies with seasonal business may also decide to close or send some staff members on holiday during quieter periods. In most cases, employees must use their PTO and receive their base salary during that time.

Well-being days

Another way of promoting a healthy workplace is to offer well-being days. These days are usually company wide and give employees the chance to rest, slow down, and return recharged after a day off. The frequency of those days can be chosen on a company level – some find it useful once a year and some once a month. Eventbrite offers well-being days every first Friday of the month.


While formerly, absence management was mainly concerned about minimizing the absences of employees, there are many reasons to motivate employees to take time off to boost physical and mental well-being. Besides decreasing sick days, this can drastically increase the motivation, productivity, and engagement of your employees. Do you work in HR and want to find out what works best for your company? Discover flair’s absence tracking and gain valuable insights.


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