London stockbroker FinnCap will effectively give its employees unlimited leave from next year with a requirement to take at least four weeks off, in an effort to prevent staff burnout.
After a colossal year of financial trading that led to staff working longer hours, the business consulting and brokerage firm decided to change its policy to allow workers to take as much leave as they need.
In a development first reported by Bloomberg, the company is asking its investment bankers, salespeople and back office employees to take at least four weeks off a year and two or three days a quarter.
“Everyone is really exhausted from the last two years and it’s not solved with a quick vacation,” FinnCap CEO Sam Smith told the Guardian. She said the problem was that people were not taking enough vacation because they felt guilty about taking time off.
“We want to turn it upside down and we do not want a holiday maximum, we want a minimum you have to keep.”
A number of US companies, especially technology companies, have introduced similar unlimited holiday policies, but this is an unusual step among financial companies.
Earlier this year, Nike, LinkedIn and the dating app Bumble gave their employees a paid week off, to relieve stress caused by the pandemic and work from home. CitiGroup said in March it would have “Zoom-free Fridays,” while PricewaterhouseCooper and Deloitte said staff could decide when, where and how they worked.
However, there are signs that staff are reluctant to take advantage of the extra leave as they do not want to be seen as the first to do so in their companies. Software company CharlieHR ended up revoking a similar holiday policy in favor of alternative perks because it generated “a huge amount of anxiety”.
Its CEO, Ben Gately, told the BBC: “A bunch of our team came to us and said, ‘Actually, we would love to know where the line goes. Is it OK to take 35 days? Is it OK to take 25 days? Where should I draw the line? ‘ In fact, it is not unlimited. ”
Smith, who established FinnCap in 2007 as the first female CEO of a City stockbroking firm, said the important thing was that staff took regular breaks “every quarter… a few days so you are not full of offers all the time” to take care of their mental health and prevent burnout.
If FinCapp employees end up working while on vacation, they should be able to take an extra day to compensate for it, she said. Or if they need time off to take their pet to the vet or call a plumber, it should not count in their vacation.
The move is designed to ease the pressure on the broker’s 155 employees. It has been recruiting more than 30 people since January as the business has boomed, particularly in its mergers and acquisitions division, but it is also expanding its debt and sector research teams and hiring more back office staff. It provides financial and advisory services to financial institutions as well as wealthy individuals.
The company reported record high half-year earnings on Thursday, an increase of 55% to 31.7 million. GBP in the six months to 30 September. It made an adjusted profit before tax of £ 7.2 million, an increase of 67% compared to the same period last year.