I was at a BBQ this weekend and a friend mentioned to me about a furlough going on at their workplace – 1 unpaid day off three times per year. The friend was very enthused about the idea however, because the three days off were the Friday before 4th of July, Friday before Memorial Day, and Christmas Eve, three of the slowest days of their business anyway.
In another vein, unpaid days off can be a great way to grant people time off who don’t have earned vacation time (and a way for you to save money and satisfy your employees at the same time). Whether your business needs require you to cut back or not, granting unpaid days off from work without penalty can lead to greater morale, cost savings, and hopefully long-term retention of key staff.
A huge gripe I hear often is that workplaces aren’t flexible enough with work schedules because of strict vacation and sick time rules and inflexible business practices. A perk of offering flexible unpaid time off is the ability for staff to still have time off from work that doesn’t interfere with the running of the business.
Consider this – would you rather give an employee 1 unpaid day off a month for 12 months straight, or lose that employee altogether because you are unwilling to consider the option?
On the other hand, the argument can be made that giving one employee this option may open up a can of worms. It is important to put a system in place like the company mentioned to me this weekend at the BBQ that allows the company as a whole to be more flexible and allow maximum involvement and benefit.