Investec is introducing a new flexible leave system in South Africa: staff can choose to get unlimited vacation time.
The bank and asset manager is also adopting a more relaxed dress code.
“An organisation that is bound by policy that restricts and constrains people through time and dress is a very limiting environment,” Lesley-Anne Gatter, head of Investec SA’s human resources, told Business Insider South Africa.
A growing number of large companies in the US, including General Electric and Dropbox, have moved to a flexible leave policy in recent months. It is seen as an attractive perk, and the prospect of unlimited holiday has excited many prospective employees.
But there are downsides. Nearly 30% of those with unlimited leave “always” work on vacation, a Business Insider US study found. That’s a far higher rate than those with more traditional vacation policies. Another survey showed that workers with unlimited leave tend to take less holiday than others.
Investec employees will get to choose whether they want to move to unlimited leave.
According to a Business Day article, those who do will be paid “according to their output”.
Investec believes this should prevent abuse of the system “as the conversation with any offenders will be about their performance rather than ‘why you didn’t come to work on Monday’.”
“The idea is to push even harder for high performance as people will have an incentive to finish their tasks quicker. But, above that, high bonuses will be paid for innovation and initiating things, as opposed to just completing tasks,” Business Day reports.
“The leave policy is less about time and more about how work is contracted, people’s roles and the clarity around their roles and deliverables,” Gatter told Business Insider.
“People are saying, in this day and age, give me my time back, give me control of my own time,” says Nicola Tager, head of careers at Investec SA. She believes the new unlimited leave system will result in an “out of the ordinary” experience for staff, and drive an “out of the ordinary” performance for clients and shareholders.
‘Dress for your day’
Investec’s new relaxed dress code will offer employees the freedom to choose their attire based on the tasks and meetings for the day. Gatter says this is a “dress-for-your-day” approach and not a “dress down” policy.
This means that employees can now show up in shorts and T-shirts, depending on who they are meeting during the day.