Microsoft has joined the movement alongside other tech companies to offer unlimited paid time off (PTO).
- Microsoft employees traditionally accrue three weeks of time off per year, in addition to holidays and leave, but now the company is changing its policy to “discretionary time off.”
- In a Wednesday email obtained by The Verge, Microsoft CPO Kathleen Hogan says the company is doing away with accrued time off as of January 16 and will no longer track vacation time.
- “While we are adopting a more flexible approach to time away, and you now no longer need to record vacation hours, we all must ensure that we maintain the highest of standards for our work and deliver on our commitments,” says Hogan.
Why It’s News
Microsoft isn’t just the newest but one of the largest companies to experiment with discretionary time off. As Fortune notes, the company has over 122,000 employees. It is one of the largest companies to experiment with the practice.
“Salesforce, Microsoft-owned LinkedIn, Oracle, and Netflix all offer similar unlimited time off policies for employees. The new policy follows Microsoft allowing more employees to work from home permanently and the company’s $1,500 pandemic bonus for employees,” says The Verge.
As we previously reported, unlimited PTO is something multiple companies have begun experimenting with for years. Bumble is actively encouraging its employees to take off as much time as they need. Netflix started offering a “No Vacation Policy” several years ago, while Songkick, Glassdoor, and Virgin Group have also instituted unlimited PTO.
Critics of the practice of discretionary time off note that the practice can add pressure on employees to take off as little time as possible. Bumble was forced to institute PTO accountability partners to ensure employees are taking a healthy amount of time away from work—without feeling pressured to work constantly—in fear of asking for too much.
“Microsoft is modernizing our vacation policy to a more flexible model and transitioning to Discretionary Time Off. How, when, and where employees do their jobs have dramatically changed, and DTO aligns with more flexible ways of working,” Microsoft told Fortune.