Best Vacation Policies for Remote Teams

  • Mar 27, 2021
  • 2 min read

Looking to find a good vacation policy but you have a remote team?

When you have a remote team, some things are just more complicated, and dealing with assigning an effective vacation policy is one of them.

There are different approaches to paid time off policies depending on how distributed your team is. You could have a remote team with all the people in the same country or different countries.

Let’s look now at the different possibilities and how to best set up the policy in each case:

A remote team in the same country

If your remote team is only in one country, the most straightforward approach would be to use a general vacation policy accepted in that country. How many days off do people in that country usually have? How many bank holidays? Use that as a reference and apply the same to your whole team.

Usually, it’d be something like twenty-something days per year plus around eight to ten public holidays.

A remote team distributed in different countries

When your team works and lives in different countries, you have a bigger challenge, because it’s hard to develop a suitable policy for everybody.

There are two approaches in this case:

  • Setting up a vacation policy for each country. This means that depending on the country you’re working from, you’ll have a different policy. This is useful for companies where there are not too many countries, so it’s easy to manage. Once you have more than two or three is better to take the second approach.

  • Creating a vacation policy for everyone independently of where they are. A simple and effective approach to creating consistency among the team and avoid the negative feeling that some people in the company are more privileged than others.

Some examples of good paid time off policies in remote companies

We’ll share a whole article about this, but here’s a sneak peek of what the best remote companies in the world do for your inspiration.

  • Zapier. They offer unlimited paid time off, with at least two weeks off per year. This means that Zapier advises their employees to take at least two weeks off per year but there’s no limit.

  • Buffer. Also unlimited paid time off but with a minimum of three weeks. This time is in addition to the bank holidays every employee observes.

  • Basecamp. They offer 18 days of paid time off plus ten local national holidays every year. They also recommend every three years that their employees take a 30-day paid sabbatical. Great idea to encourage a good disconnection from work!

  • Gitlab. Unlimited paid time off, but if a team member requests more than 25 days in one vacation, they need to ask for permission.

Our advice from Planleave

We recommend having only one vacation policy for everyone in the team so that it’s clear for everyone how much time they can take off, and they don’t compare with each other.