Does your vacation time policy match your industry?

Vacation policies can have a notable effect if they go against industry norms.

Vacation policies can have a notable effect if they go against industry norms.

It is well known that different countries have their own standards when it comes to vacation days and time off: what seems excessive for one culture could be the norm for another. However, while a company in the United States might not be affected by the vacation policies of businesses in other nations, it is important to understand what others in the same industry are doing to reward workers.

TIME cited the example of H&M, a retail fashion company that rewards full-time employees with as much as five weeks of paid vacation time off per year. As the article notes, this fits with European attitudes towards vacation time, but is unusual for the American retail world. Citing a report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the source adds that "half of low wage workers" have no vacation time at all, and about a quarter of all American workers are treated to the same policy.

Some vacation policies will be notable no matter what industry the company using them is in. USA Today recently mentioned ConsumerAffairs.com's unlimited vacation day policy, which is highly unusual for American employers. The COO of that company, Eric Jenkins, said that this policy is part of the greater goal of employee retention.

"One of our goals as a company is to be a best place to work," he said. "So we've looked for innovative ways to create a culture and environment that's going to attract high-performing individuals." While such policies don't guarantee a lower turnover rate, they can add to the character of the company and its general philosophy if implemented and supported well.

Before re-evaluating their employee benefits packages, businesses should take HR system selection seriously by working with a consultant that will help them locate the right vendor and system based on industry norms. Doing so could make managing such matters easier and more company-specific.