Analysts are sceptical about Goldman Sachs’ decision to give its senior bankers unlimited vacation time. Some say the move is a cynical way to boost the bank’s bottom line that won’t lead stressed-out workers to take more time off.
Early this month, the Wall Street giant told its top bankers that they could take as many vacation days as they wanted. The company policy now says that all Goldman employees must take at least 15 days off each year.
The unlimited vacation policy gave the impression that Goldman was putting more emphasis on work-life balance. However, Wells Fargo banking analyst Mike Mayo told the New York Times that it won’t do much to help bankers deal with the work that keeps them at their desks in the first place.
Mayo said, “It sounds soothing to the ear, and it’s part of Goldman’s effort to build a gentler, softer image of himself.” “The truth is that it won’t change anything. It’s like telling a restaurant owner that he or she can take as much time off as they want. Would that change how the restaurant owner works?
Veehtahl Eilat-Raichel, co-founder and CEO of fintech startup Sorbet, which buys out and repurposes unused paid-time-off benefits, is said to have said that Goldman’s policy change was “driven completely by financials.”
After a policy change, senior bankers at Goldman Sachs can take as many vacations as they want.
A source familiar with the situation told The Post that by changing the policy, Goldman no longer has to pay senior bankers, who make up less than 5% of the company’s total workforce, for unused paid time off under 15 days. This is because, in a technical sense, those executives no longer get vacation days.
Eilat-Raichel told the New York Times that policies that allow employees to take as much time off as they want are “sold as a great benefit for employees, when in reality it’s terrible for employees and great for employers.”
Paul Sorbera, the president of Alliance Consulting, thought that Goldman’s move was a good one.
Sorbera told the outlet, “It’s a great thing. They’re trusting their senior people to do the right thing because they’ve worked hard and been successful.”
A spokesperson for Goldman Sachs said that any cost savings from the change in policy are “incidental” and did not play a role in the decision.
“Senior employees can take as much time off as they want, so we no longer build up vacation days in a year. Since 2017, we haven’t paid out vacation days that were left over from the previous year but weren’t used.
Goldman Sachs’ global head of human capital management, Bentley de Beyer, said that the company’s “focus” when putting out the policy was to “encourage our people to take more time off, rest, and recharge.”
The executive said, “We are proud to join many other companies in putting in place a flexible policy that requires a minimum amount of time away from the office to keep building resilience and long-term performance.”
Senior bankers can take as much time off as they want, but junior bankers still have a limit. Goldman, on the other hand, gave them two more vacation days.
Goldman has a new vacation policy because it is getting more and more pushback from its employees. Last year, some junior bankers complained that they were working 100-hour weeks.
In a memo sent out earlier this month, the company said, “As we continue to take care of our people at every stage of their careers and focus on the experience of our partners and managing directors, we are happy to announce improvements and changes to our global vacation programme.” These changes are meant to make it easier for people to take time off to rest and recharge.
Recently, Goldman employees have been upset about the firm’s strict plan for getting back to work. In March, The Post reported that some junior employees had threatened to leave because they were being pressured from within to work on-site five days a week.
In the meantime, Goldman’s top boss, David Solomon, said earlier this month that between 50% and 60% of Goldman employees have returned to work.
Goldman has also been criticised by its workers for cutting back on perks like free lunch and rides to work.