Startup pays staff $2,000 cash or $10,000 capital if they take vacation
- Toggle AI gives staff $2,000 in cash or $10,000 in stock if they take two weeks vacation.
- The startup introduced unlimited paid time off in 2022 and wants to ensure staff take vacations.
- Offering a paid incentive is one way to show the company means it, the Toggle co-founder told Insider.
Amid record quitting rates, companies are scrambling to help their staff retire.
While some offer innovative perks like giving newcomers paid time off before they start, or greater influence in their workplace, one investing startup goes the extra mile when it comes to paid time off, offering workers $2,000 or $10,000 in capital if they take two weeks vacation.
It’s a way to ensure staff actually take their unlimited vacations, Giuseppe Sette, co-founder and president of artificial intelligence investment startup Toggle AI, told Insider.
Toggle AI, an online investment platform, officially introduced an unlimited paid vacation policy in February 2022, influenced by those launched at tech companies such as
However, while the perk is popular among employees, studies show that having unlimited paid time off may actually cause people to take fewer vacations, because they’re eager to prove their worth or don’t. do not feel confident with management, for example.
The founders wanted to avoid this “giant psychological trap,” Sette said. Incentivizing the perk is a way to clearly convey that founders really mean it when they say they want staff to take it, he added.
Staff receive $1,000 or $5,000 in capital for each week off
Toggle has offices in London, Tokyo and New York. The benefit is available to all 32 employees, who span roles in technology, marketing and science.
Staff receive $1,000 in cash and $5,000 in equity bonus for each week off. The only stipulation is that they must take a full week off, although they don’t have to take each week consecutively.
Although they can take as much paid leave as they wish, the bonus is capped at two weeks.
It’s about giving people choice, Sette said. Toggle’s founders all worked for financial firms in London and New York, where they saw the benefit of making furloughs mandatory. However, they didn’t want to force people to take time off, Sette said.
“It’s a message about the kind of culture we want to have – it’s a place where people work hard, but it’s also a place that takes care of a person,” Sette said. This then trickles down to how managers take care of their team members, he added.
“You can hire a new manager or invest in a nicer office anywhere else. But the truth is, when you do something special for people, they remember it,” he said.
The company — which received $10.5 million in Series A funding in July 2021 — has budgeted for the cost and will be able to cover the overhead of the benefit for up to 1,000 employees, Sette said. .
Sette thinks staff, when given the choice, are more likely to take the equity ticket rather than the cash, as it could increase over time. Toggle AI staff members already receive a four-year vest when they join the company.
The holiday bonus initiative is part of a wider effort to help maintain a pleasant environment, so that they can enjoy lunches and get-togethers, for example.
It is still too early to gauge the impact of the benefit, which was introduced in February, although Sette said there has been a boost in morale. It also raised eyebrows among job seekers.
“It’s not enough to hire smart people – employers need to set them up to succeed,” Sette said – it means giving them benefits that matter, he added.
“Yeah, snacks are fine. Draft beer or beer on Fridays is fine, but it’s nice to have,” Sette said. “Parental leave or other things like vacations that matter. Create an environment where people can thrive.”