This CEO docks employees’ pay if they don’t use their vacation time

The CEO of SimpliFlying, an airline marketing company, noticed that his employees weren’t taking any time off work—even though he offers unlimited vacation days. So, he decided to do something about it.

In April 2016 the CEO, Shashank Nigam, implemented a mandatory vacation policy. This means employees are required to take some time off, and that includes not messaging co-workers at all during the vacation period—not even on Slack. Gasp!

“We had staff who took more vacation than usual and some who didn’t take it at all,” Nigam tells CNBC. “So having an unlimited vacation policy was almost like having no vacation policy at all. People were feeling guilty, and I didn’t see anyone utilizing it to the fullest.”

The policy mandates that employees take a one week vacation every eight weeks, as long as two people are not out of the office at once. Nigam found it difficult for the small team of 10 to operate with multiple people out of the office at the same time, but overall, this certainly doesn’t sound like a bad deal!

vacation photo
Getty Images | Sean Gallup

And if you’re wondering if the policy is actually enforced—it most definitely is.

“Given the distraction in our workplace like Slack, emails and messages coming in, to ensure our staff wasn’t working during that week off, I put in a clause that said if I see any Slack activity or response to any messages, you will not be paid that week,” he told CNBC.

So, when it comes to vacation time, he means business. What a refreshing policy to see from corporate America!

beach photo
Getty Images | Mark Kolbe

According to a survey conducted by Skift, 42 percent of Americans planned to skip taking a summer vacation in 2017. This is a shame because research supports the theory that taking time away from work can actually help you be more productive and get more enjoyment from your job.

A study conducted by Harvard Business School followed employees who took regular time off—like those at SimpliFlying—and found that time away from the office is actually quite effective in boosting job satisfaction.

meeting photo
Flickr | Sole Treadmill

“After five months employees experimenting with deliberate periodic rest were more satisfied with their jobs, more likely to envision a long-term future at the company, more content with their work-life balance and prouder of their accomplishments,” the study revealed.

So, it seems as though vacation time is better in the long run for both the employees and the employer. SimpliFlying—you’re on to something. Even if your office doesn’t have a mandatory vacation policy, you can impose this rule on yourself: Go ahead an take that paid time off—after all, you’ve earned it!