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      “Unlimited vacation” policies are a subtle technique for removing a defined benefit…I have no idea why employees see these plans as beneficial.

      I disagree with this as a blanket statement. I think it all depends on the individual employee and the company.

      I’ve never carried a balance of vacation time from year to year because I’d rather take the vacation & travel. I’m also willing to butt heads with my manager to ensure that I’m getting the vacation I’m entitled to – but to his credit, he hasn’t made me do that at, because he embraces the concept and works to ensure his employees are taking vacation.

      For me, I’d much rather have the ability to take more vacation than to cash out my zero hours when I quit! I actually keep a spreadsheet of paid vacation I’ve taken since my company moved from a time granted to an unlimited time policy and I’m ~2.25 months ahead thanks to the switch.

      That being said, I have friends that refuse to take vacation out of some odd misguided loyalty (“things will fall apart without me…”), fear that their manager will frown on them if they’re not in their chair all day every day, etc. If that’s the environment and that’s how you operate, I’d definitely agree that it’s a net loss. But it all depends on the person, in the end.

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        Completely agree, which is why at GrantTree I decided to have explicitly 30 days of vacation, not “unlimited vacation days”. Hadn’t thought about the compensation angle, but that one is another good point against unlimited vacation.

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          I think that unlimited vacation policies can be great if the company culture is accepting of vacation. Then unlimited vacation is almost always preferable to defined vacation benefits. But it’s the rare tech company that understands the value of vacation, and so unlimited vacation policies do usually end up the way you describe. At Sourcegraph, we’re trying to create the right kind of culture.

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          Yes, yes, and yes. I’ve seen too many places where the “unlimited vacation” policy was really a subtle test of your dedication to the company, intentionally or otherwise.