October 27, 2021

How’s Grant Thornton’s Unlimited Vacation Policy Been Working Out?

Last year, the only second-tier accounting firm not cool enough to go by its inititals, Grant Thornton, announced a new paid-time off policy that would allow its employees to take unlimited vacation. Although GT employees seemed happy with the idea, the move was met by skepticism here and elsewhere.

Last year, the only second-tier accounting firm not cool enough to go by its inititals, Grant Thornton, announced a new paid-time off policy that would allow its employees to take unlimited vacation. Although GT employees seemed happy with the idea, the move was met by skepticism here and elsewhere.

So, how's it going? Crain's Claire Bushey reports that the policy seems to have had the effect the firm was looking for:

Under Grant Thornton's previous policy, from Nov. 1, 2014, to Nov. 1 2015, accountants and consultants took a median of 17.4 days off. Under the new policy, they took a median of 19.1 days off.

That's “a pretty significant increase,” given that employees at some companies that tried the policy actually took fewer days off, said Jennifer Fraone, associate director of Boston College Center for Work & Family.

Lower-level employees at Grant Thornton are the primary winners. Accountants and consultants from the midlevel through partner ranks generally took about 20 days, said Lou Ann Hutchison, managing director for human resources in the firm's Charlotte, N.C., office. Junior professionals and administrative staff typically used 15 to 17 days.

That's nice. No, really! More people need to take vacation and consistently use all the PTO that is available to them.

But I remain skeptical that it will last. Every feel-good HR policy has a honeymoon phase and this was it for GT. Plus, I've got a hunch that the Cubs great season ending with a miraculous World Series run caused a deluge of time off in the late summer and into October, juicing the numbers a bit.

Anyone want to testify on their experience? Do so below.

[Crain's]

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