Human Resources

4 Alternative Types of Leave That Enhance the Employee Experience



One of the biggest factors for employees seeking out a new job is the types and amount of leave that they will get.

Outside of the salary, the amount of annual and special leave offered by a company can make a huge impact on whether the employee applies for or accepts a job.

Alternative types of leave are hitting the headlines, as companies get creative with the perks that they offer. Not only does this enhance the employee experience, it also gives the employer a more positive reputation.

Here are 4 alternative types of leave that have proven to boost the employee experience. You might just be inspired to bring a new policy to the table.




Marriage Leave

International Marriage Week kicks off today! This holiday is all about celebrating marriage, which is an important event in any employee’s life. While employees aren’t statutorily entitled to leave at this time, some employers are using this as an opportunity to give the new couple an added gift.

In countries like Spain, this is already enshrined in their legislation. Companies in Spain are required to give 15 days of paid leave to newlyweds; they even give a paid day off for those moving to a new house!

There are some companies in the UK that have begun to offer this perk, with one generous boss even allowing employees to use his Bentley for the day! Speaking about this perk with People Management, UKFast boss and originator of the policy Lawrence Jones said:

“That’s why, on top of trying to alleviate any stress by giving that extra week’s holiday, I also offer the team the use of my Bentley for special occasions. Providing a wedding car in this way ticks one more thing off the list of jobs to do to plan the wedding day. It’s lightening the load, even just in a small way.”

It's easy to see the benefit for the employee here, but the company also gets some significant PR and boost to employee satisfaction from this. Just imagine how much goodwill you’d have for a boss that allowed you to borrow his luxury car!

To keep things fair, employees that don’t get married within the year can cash in their holidays for additional pay.




Pawternity Leave

The pitter patter of little paws can be disruptive for employees, as they settle into life with a new pet. Working out the right schedule and dealing with sleepless nights as their new pet gets accustomed to their surrounding can be taxing for the employee.

That’s why some firms are choosing to offer ‘Pawternity Leave’ to give them a chance to get acquainted with their pet. Pet-friendly bar and brewery Brewdog have a long history with their four-legged friends.

They implemented this leave policy in 2017, which allows employees a week of paid leave when adopting a new pet. They can also bring their dog to work if they’re part of a pet-friendly department.

Unsurprisingly, this has been emulated by other companies, both in the pet care industry and outside of it. It ties in with the needs and wants of millennials too, a demographic that is moving away from the traditional family setup. This is a good way to attract and retain these younger candidates with perks that make sense for their lifestyle.




Charity Leave

Have you ever wanted to help a charity, but just can’t seem to fit it around your busy schedule? While many of us want to volunteer, the practicalities just don’t add up with our current commitments.

If you’re lucky enough to work at Google, you can claim up to 6 months of paid leave to work with a charity. Employees apply for the time to work with a charity, which is then vetted and assessed by the parent company. In 2019, they expect to donate 50,000 hours to these charities to improve their technical abilities.

The tech giant also gains from this partnership, as their employees learn in new environments and bring new knowledge to the table when they return. They also have the opportunity to enjoy a role that they’re passionate about within the community, which greatly increases their engagement with the company.

Outside of this company, many other companies also donate days of their employees’ time to charities. Companies like Nationwide and Experian allow their employees to select a charity to work with for a few days per year. While it’s not quite on the same scale as Google, there are still positive benefits for the employer offering this leave.




Extended Parental Leave

In the UK, maternal and paternal leave has come under fire for being unrealistic and unfair. Statutorily, mothers in the UK get 39 weeks of paid leave at 90% of their salary before tax and after the initial 6 weeks this drops down to £148.60 per week.

New fathers get just a fortnight of paid leave to adjust to this monumental life change. Parents that choose to take shared parental leave share 50 weeks of leave, with 37 of those being paid.

As this can be a tumultuous time for new parents, many companies choose to go over and above the statutory amount. Streaming giant Netflix give their employees as much leave as they need, with no official cap on the amount of time they can take. They also work to provide flexible working options for those returning to the workplace. 

Outside of their own workplace, Amazon will also pay your partner to take leave if they work for a company without a generous policy. The employee that works at Amazon can effectively donate some of their leave to the other parent, with Amazon footing the bill. This policy is effective throughout the workforce, from the warehouse to the C-suite.

In the US, where both of these companies are based, there’s currently no statutory paternal leave in most states. Fathers have the option to request unpaid time off, but employers are not required to grant this.

These tech companies know the value of treating their workforce well at this time of adjustment. Not only does it make them standout places to work, their employees are more likely to return to work when this period is over as they are supported throughout.




How to Implement a New Leave Scheme

If you’re all fired up and ready to write in a new leave scheme for your members of staff, there are a few steps to making this successful. From a legal standpoint, you need to ensure that your policy is non-discriminatory and fair for every employee.

For example, you can’t allow some employees a perk without rolling it out to every employee unless you can prove it wouldn’t be feasible due to a difference in job function. In this case, you should make every effort to ensure that employees left out of the scheme are compensated on par with those that can use it.

Policies should be written out clearly within your employee handbook and any changes to leave should be communicated effectively. This should include a date by which the change will come into play and how the employee can go about using this leave.

As always, you also want to be able to measure the success of a new leave policy. Consider brand awareness, employee engagement and the cost of the leave policy to the business.

Then, you can report back to the C-suite on the success of your policy. While this may cost the business additional wages, it can cut sick days, reduce recruitment costs and boost productivity. You can introduce a new leave scheme as a pilot initially before making it a permanent part of the employee experience.


There are many ways that you can make your employees feel more valued with additional leave, from extra holidays to volunteering days. By making a case for this, piloting a scheme and creating data-driven analysis, you become a better HR practitioner.


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