Employee perk offers new meaning to paid vacation time

(WXYZ) - Catherine Shyu loves taking vacation. And she loves it even more that her boss pays her to do it. It’s part of his paid paid vacation policy. 

She explains, “My first one was a cruise around the Caribbean because I've never been there before. My second one last year was to Belize and then my most recent one I got back from was to Hawaii.”

More than just giving her paid time off, the company she works for, Full Contact, also gave her 7500-dollars to take each trip.

All the employees can do it.

Shyu explains, “The real spirit of the program is to have people bring their best selves to work. And the way to really do that is by getting a refresher once in awhile.”

Sound too good to be true?

Her boss, the CEO of Full Contact, Bart Lorang, explains there is a catch or two, telling us, “One is they have to go on vacation to get the money. Two: they have to disconnect and go off the grid, so completely detached from electronics and communications to get the money. And three is they can't actually work while they're on vacation.”

Pretty cool concept, right?

Well, the Society for Human Resource Management says it’s rare—just one percent of companies offer a vacation stipend. 

But it’s an idea that is growing in many forms.

Shyu says, “The vacation really helps because it just forces us to go off, do something else, and come back ready to work again.”

Lorang says it was created from his own shortfalls with family, explaining, “I'd be the guy checking my email or sneaking off to the business center and I wasn't really present with the folks that I was with.”

Add that to the average employee’s work week lasts much longer than 40-hours and the 658 million unused vacation days each year and you have a whole lot of work martyrs.

Lorang doesn’t want that in his office.  He says, “If somebody is actually relaxed and productive after their paid vacation they're a better employee.”

Shyu says it’s a benefit she doesn’t take for granted, explaining, “We all stay here longer because of this vacation policy just in terms of having a set time every single year to go off the grid and recharge. Otherwise we run into this risk of burning out.”

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