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Unlimited Vacation Time and Free Beer: These Companies Offer the Best Job Benefits

Updated February 17, 2015
by Steve Gillman
Contributor

When my wife and I arrived at Google headquarters on a business trip a few years ago, we watched employees playing volleyball on the company’s court. Other employees lounged on the grass or rode one of the free bicycles around campus.

Known for its fun corporate culture, Google notes that they also offer employees on-site physicians, free legal advice, reimbursement for education and, for new parents, “extra spending money” along with time off.

Who can top that? How about some of the companies that offer employees unlimited paid vacation time and those that will pay you to quit? Those are just two of the interesting benefits you might get with the following employers.

These Companies Offer Unlimited Vacation Time

Netflix was one of pioneers in offering employees unlimited paid vacation days, implementing the policy in 2004.

We focus on what people get done, not on how many days they worked,” cofounder Reed Hastings told Bloomberg Businessweek. He called specifying and tracking how many days of vacation an employee takes an “industrial-era habit.”

Billionaire Richard Branson, inspired by Netflix, recently announced that Virgin Group employees will have unlimited paid vacation time, according to a report on CNN.com. Here are some of the other companies that offer unlimited vacation days:

  • Zynga
  • Groupon
  • Glassdoor
  • Evernote
  • VMware
  • Hubspot
  • Ask.com
  • Motley Fool
  • Eventbrite
  • ZocDoc
  • SurveyMonkey

Of course, you still have to get your work done, so there’s a limit to how much vacationing you can do. When Branson announced Virgin’s new policy, Peter Coleman and Robert Ferguson, in a Time Magazine opinion piece, called the employee benefit a “trick,” pointing out that:

By giving employees unlimited vacation time, instead of giving a set number, say 14 or 21, companies do not have to pay departing workers for unused days. That is a lot of money a company does not have to keep in the bank or on the books.

They also noted that the highly motivated people hired by Virgin and other companies with this policy probably won’t take many vacation days. Still, it would be nice to have the option, right?

These Companies Pay You to Quit

Getting paid to take off for a few weeks is nice, but perhaps you would like to just leave your employer permanently — and get a bonus for doing so. Some companies offer exactly that, as a strategy to keep only the most motivated employees around.

Back in 2008, the Harvard Business Review reported that online shoe retailer Zappos was offering a “bonus” of $1,000 to employees who would quit. It wasn’t an effort to reduce staff, but was meant to encourage employees who weren’t committed enough to move on, so the company could find new workers who were a better fit.

Amazon (which owns Zappos) upped the ante with what they call their “Pay to Quit” program, reports Time. Once each year, the company offers employees money to quit their jobs. They offer $2,000 the first year, and raise the amount $1,000 for each year the employee is there, with a maximum of $5,000. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos says “In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company.”

The best pay-to-quit offer may be found at Riot Games, according to a Daily Dot article. New employees who choose to quit their jobs within 60 days of starting are paid 10% of their annual salary, up to a maximum of $25,000. Perhaps that’s quite a temptation for some, but $25,000 is 10% of $250,000, a salary that might make it more tempting to stay.

Other Interesting Employee Benefits

Unlimited vacation time and getting paid to quit are dramatic examples of benefits you don’t expect from an employer, but there are a variety of others.

At Workman Publishing, employees can take naps when they feel like it, reports the Wall Street Journal. Founder Peter Workman wanted happier employees and was inspired to introduce the policy by a book his company published — naturally, it was about napping.

Advance Medical, a company in Florida, provides free beer for employees to drink — on the job — during “Beer Cart Fridays,” according to The New York Daily News. CEO Jennifer Fuicelli says the company’s turnover rate is very low.

Internet advertising company Chitika offers a variety of interesting benefits to its employees, reports New England Cable News, including a juice bar, full gym, free laundry and dry cleaning service, daily catered lunch, and a monthly driving stipend. Chitika workers also have ping pong and air hockey tables on-site for their use.

Here are a few other companies that offer unexpected benefits to employees, according to Ryot.com:

  • Nationwide Insurance: Work here and you can do brain-training games for stress relief.
  • Chesapeake Energy: The company fitness center has a volleyball pit, climbing wall, and large swimming pool. Workers also have an on-site dental center.
  • StumbleUpon: Employees get organic meals, reimbursements for gym memberships and an in-house masseuse.
  • Greatist: A Zen room allows workers to take a meditation break. The company also offers free gym memberships, yoga classes and a different team activity each week. Samurai sword fighting, aerial fitness workouts and drinking Makers Mark bourbon as a group are some of the activities they’ve had.
  • Healthy Labs: Employees get free gym memberships, fresh food from Trader Joe’s and the company will match charitable donations up to $1,000.

Your Turn: What kind of benefits would you like your employer to offer?

by Steve Gillman
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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