Paid-time off (PTO) is often the pinnacle of debate in the states and, like many conversations about US human capital, it falls down to legislation or in fact, a lack thereof.  

The promise of unlimited holiday is keeping Americans in the office.

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American employers are not required by law to offer any paid leave to their employees and when comparing this to other global hubs such as the UK which offers a minimum of 28 days and parts of Europe which stretch to as high as 43, it can leave professionals in the states feeling rather hard done by.

Todays’ debate about PTO however takes the conversation from one extreme to the other.

American employers led by Richard Branson are now offering unlimited paid-time off and one can only imagine that Americans in receipt of the benefit are having the time of their lives. Or at least you might have thought so.

In reality, the offer of unlimited time off is actually having a reverse-effect on American employees who, knowing they can holiday at any moment, are staying in the office.

Is it loyalty, reverse-psychology or routine?


When launching the initiative, Branson said: “Treat people as human beings, give them that flexibility, and I don’t think they’ll abuse it. They’ll get the job done.”

Could it be this loyalty and gratitude keeping Family Office professionals, in the office?

I can speak for every Family Office when I say loyalty is up there in their list of top three requirements when it comes to talent. These are individuals who are required to manage the extraordinary wealth and secrets of a family. They must be devoted, trustworthy and immensely loyal and be prepared to stay with the family over an extended period of time. Taking extensive periods of time off will not just call this loyalty into question but it might have an impact on performance too.

Family Offices operate with a very intimate team and a very flat structure. This means that often, one person wears many hats and with that person removed for large quantities of the year, holes can start to appear. With such a huge risk and such a small margin …….


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