English businessman, investor and founder of Virgin Group Sir Richard Branson announced a change to Virgin's vacation policy change that will allow salaried employees to take unlimited breaks.

Branson believes that letting employees decide if and when they want a break will benefit the business in the long run by increasing productivity, creativity and boosting company morale.

"The policy-that-isn't permits all salaried staff to take off whenever they want for as long as they want," Branson writes on his Virgin blog. "There is no need to ask for prior approval and neither the employees themselves nor their managers are asked or expected to keep track of their days away from the office."

Advances in technologies have replaced old systems for tracking holiday time, freeing managers from having to track all employees. Employees working for Virgin in the U.S. and U.K. can schedule flexible hours with the new unlimited vacation policy, but they are expected to stay up to date on their work.

"It is left to the employee alone to decide if and when he or she feels like taking a few hours, a day, a week or a month off, the assumption being that they are only going to do it when they feel a hundred per cent comfortable that they and their team are up to date on every project and that their absence will not in any way damage the business  or, for that matter, their careers," Branson writes.

But the lack of structure may make workers less comfortable with taking the vacations. "This sounds not well thought-out," says Lottee Bailyn, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. "People take less time off because they feel they're not sure if this is really a commitment to them or that this is more a PR thing."

Workers who feel uncomfortable without guidelines are likely to look to senior staff members to set the standards. They may fall back on previous workday expectations. According to a survey by the U.S. Travel Association ad marketing research firm GfK, approximately 40 percent of workers in the U.S. don't plan on using their paid vacation time this year.

The concept for the unlimited work breaks, Branson says, comes from the initiatives Netflix has taken. "The Netflix initiative had been driven by a growing groundswell of employees asking about how their new technology-controlled time on the job (working at all kinds of hours at home and/or everywhere they receive a business text or email) could be reconciled with the company's old-fashioned time-off policy," he wrote.

Netflix's "Reference Guide on our Freedom and Responsibility Culture" says that the company should focus on what people accomplish at work, not how many hours or days were worked. Since the company does not have a nine-to-five policy, it only seems fitting that no vacation policy is needed either.

Branson calls the unlimited vacation policy for Virgin's U.K . and U.S. companies "one of the simplest and smartest initiatives."

If the policy shows to be successful, other subsidiaries will be encouraged to follow.  

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