While Americans are struggling to cram all their vacation dreams into their two weeks of PTO each year, Australians — at least, those who work for this company — are planning epic three month-long trips. Ernst & Young, an accounting firm with locations all around the world, gives its Australian employees six to 12 weeks of “life leave” each year to travel, work part-time, or simply to do nothing.
The company is also introducing two new options starting on April 1. Term-time working will allow employees to work full-time during the school year, with all school holidays off (for those with children), or as an alternative, an employee can work part-time for three months.
Kate Hillman, people partner for Ernst & Young Oceania, said the policies are an effort to “address a growing demand for flexible work environments in general, not just for working parents. We’re innovating so we don’t lose these people when they pursue passions outside of work.”
Hillman also revealed that the influx of travel-minded millennials has also inspired these new policies. She says millennials are “driving demand for flexibility, as their preference for diverse and stimulating career experiences overrides traditional workplace structures and timelines.”
In addition to increasing employee satisfaction, the firm also found that more workplace flexibility caused employee engagement to rise by 11%. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a broader international trend to give employees more time off for travel and personal development.