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Stockbrokers At London Firm Get Unlimited Holiday To Stop Burnout

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Staff at Finncap will have to take at least four weeks off as a bumper year has led to longer hours

The London stockbroker FinnCap will effectively give its employees unlimited holiday from next year with a requirement to take at least four weeks off, in an effort to prevent staff burnout.

After a bumper year for financial dealmaking that led to staff working longer hours, the corporate advisory and brokerage firm decided to change its policy to allow workers to take as much leave as they need.

In a development first reported by Bloomberg, the company is asking its investment bankers, salespeople and back office staff to take at least four weeks’ holiday a year and two or three days a quarter.

“Everyone is really exhausted from the last two years, and it isn’t fixed with a quick holiday,” FinnCap’s chief executive Sam Smith told the Guardian. She said the problem was people were not taking enough holiday because they felt guilty about taking time off.

“We will turn it on its head and we are not going to have a holiday maximum, we’re going to have a minimum you must take.”

A number of US businesses, in particular technology firms, have introduced similar unlimited holiday policies but it is an unusual move among financial companies.

Earlier this year, Nike, LinkedIn and the dating app Bumble gave their workers a paid week off, to relieve stress caused by the pandemic and working from home. CitiGroup said in March it would have “Zoom-free Fridays” while PricewaterhouseCooper and Deloitte said staff could decide when, where and how they worked.

However, there is evidence of staff being reluctant to take advantage of the extra leave as they do not want to be seen as being the first do so within their companies. The software firm CharlieHR ended up revoking a similar holiday policy in favour of alternative perks because it produced “a huge amount of anxiety”.

Its chief executive, Ben Gately, told the BBC: “A bunch of our team came to us and said: ‘Actually we’d love to know where the line is. Is it OK to take 35 days? Is it OK to take 25 days? Where should I draw the line?’ Because the reality is that it’s not actually unlimited.”

Smith, who set up FinnCap in 2007 becoming the first female chief executive of a City stockbroking firm, said the important thing was for staff to take regular breaks “every quarter … a couple of days so you’re not full pelt on deals all the time” to look after their mental health and prevent burnout.

If FinCapp employees end up working while they are on holiday, they should be able to take an extra day to make up for it, she said. Or if they need time off to take their pet to the vet or call out a plumber, that should not count towards their holidays.

The move is designed to ease the pressure on the broker’s 155 staff. It has recruited more than 30 people since January as business has boomed, especially in its mergers & acquisitions division, but it is also expanding its debt and sector research teams and hiring more back office staff. It provides financial and advisory services to financial institutions as well as wealthy individuals.

The company reported record half-year revenues on Thursday, up 55% to £31.7m in the six months to 30 September. It made an adjusted pre-tax profit of £7.2m, a 67% rise on the same period last year.

Source: www.theguardian.com, Photo: Charlie Clift/finnCap/PA

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