Investors suggest that granting employees unlimited time off could enhance company performance, surpassing the S&P 500.

Investors suggest that granting employees unlimited time off could enhance company performance, surpassing the S&P 500.

The Potential of Unlimited Time-Off Policies in Stock Performance

Stock Performance


Unlimited time-off policies have become an intriguing topic in the corporate world, with a potential impact on both employee well-being and stock performance. Bloomberg’s research reveals that two-thirds of investors see potential in companies with unlimited time-off policies, suggesting that they could potentially outperform the S&P 500. This article will delve into the reasons behind this belief, explore the trends in unlimited time-off policies, and analyze the implications for both employees and investors.

Unlimited Time-Off Policies: A Growing Trend

The concept of unlimited time-off policies originated in small Silicon Valley start-ups and has gradually made its way to major corporations like LinkedIn, Netflix, and Microsoft. Even traditionally demanding firms like Goldman Sachs have introduced generous holiday packages, albeit limited to senior staff. Currently, only 8% of companies in the United States offer unlimited paid time off (PTO), but demand for it is steadily growing. Glassdoor reported that mentions of “unlimited” leave policies in employee reviews increased by 75% from pre-pandemic levels in 2022.

Reducing Costs and Attracting Top Talent

Unlimited time-off policies provide benefits not only to employees but also to companies. Offering unlimited PTO helps cut costs associated with unused vacation days. Rich Fuerstenberg, a senior partner at consulting firm Mercer, highlighted its cost-saving potential, stating, “If I’m the CFO, I’m loving this. This is a big money saver for me.” Furthermore, it enables firms to eliminate accrued vacation liabilities from their books.

Moreover, offering unlimited PTO is an effective tool for attracting top talent. In today’s competitive job market, employees seek companies that prioritize work-life balance and employee well-being. Being able to enjoy flexible time-off arrangements can be a strong differentiator for companies and play a vital role in attracting and retaining high-caliber professionals.

The Reality of Unlimited PTO: Less Leave Taken

Counterintuitively, offering unlimited time off work does not result in employees being endlessly away from their desks. Research indicates that many workers do not fully utilize the vacation time offered by their employers. This trend is particularly evident in the United States, where almost 46% of employees do not use all their allocated paid time off.

Even when companies already offer more than 20 paid vacation days per year, a significant portion of participants in Bloomberg’s survey reported this level of allowance. However, less than 40% of respondents actually took more than 20 days off. This trend continues even with the introduction of unlimited PTO. Most survey respondents voted that they would take no more than 20 days of leave if they had unlimited vacation.

Interestingly, guilt and fear of repercussions from managers seem to play a role in employees’ reluctance to take time off. One survey respondent wrote, “People feel guilty to take any time off with unlimited PTO lest they get dinged by their manager.” This sentiment reflects the inherent challenges in reshaping long-standing work culture.

Investors’ Perspective on Unlimited Time-Off Policies

Despite the little difference unlimited PTO makes to annual leave taken and its positive impact on stock price, investors do not predict it will become the next up-and-coming workplace perk. Only 18% of surveyed investors believe that the trend of unlimited vacation time is likely to gain traction. Instead, over half of those surveyed believe that the four-day workweek will gain the most popularity, followed by 20% who think sabbatical policies would.

Rich Fuerstenberg raises an interesting point, questioning whether dropping annual leave limits alone will directly lead to a boost in performance, or if it’s the culmination of various features and policies that make companies attractive on the stock market. He poses the question, “Are they outperforming the S&P 500 because of their unlimited PTO policy or because they’re the type of employer who’s going to have an unlimited PTO policy?”


Unlimited time-off policies have gained attention as an intriguing workplace perk, with the potential to enhance employee well-being and stock performance. With more companies adopting this flexible approach to time off, research suggests that it helps attract top talent and can yield cost savings for companies. However, the reality shows that employees tend to stick to traditional vacation durations, even when unlimited PTO is offered. While investors recognize the positive impact on stock price, they anticipate other workplace trends, such as the four-day workweek, to gain more traction. Ultimately, the true impact of unlimited time-off policies on company performance remains a complex and multifaceted question.