A couple of weeks ago, my company, Inventium, announced to staff that they would now have unlimited, uncapped, paid, annual leave.
I made this decision because of the unfairness inherent in typical Australian employment contracts. In Australia, by law, people are entitled to four weeks paid annual leave, yet employment contracts state that a full-time employee works a 38-hour week. At Inventium (as with many workplaces), this is generally not the case. Working hours tend to be longer than 38 hours which, for us, is what happens when you have an incredibly dedicated team who truly care about what they do and the clients they look after.
This situation – the inequity between what workplaces in Australia are legally obliged to do and what happens in reality – really felt wrong. Annual leave was capped, yet working hours were not.
When I announced the new policy to my team, the reaction was huge. Because of the large amount of travel our innovation consultants do, this often means time away from family. Being able to now have the freedom to take an unlimited amount of leave when coming off an intense few weeks of travel or even just from working long hours, means they can spend more time at home with loved ones.
The majority of my team are women, and there are a handful of people with young children (myself included). I think that as a parent, having the flexibility to be more physically present for your kids, especially during times when you feel it’s been lacking, is pure gold. And unfortunately, this is something that most full-time working parents don’t have the luxury of doing.
After the announcement of our new policy, the media jumped on the story in a big way. I was asked to write about our policy for Huffington Post and the Daily Mail, and have spoken to ABC radio, The Project, and Weekend Today, among others. As I write this, the media enquiries are still rolling in.