Leave Management

What are Duvet Days?

Should your business offer no-strings days off work?...
Sean QuinnPosted on Monday, July 10th 2023

A perk offered by some of the world's largest employers (such as Google, Meta and LinkedIn), you might have already heard of 'duvet days'. If you're a business owner, you might even consider adding them to your own company's absence policy - but there are some things to consider first.

What is a duvet day?

A duvet day is simply a day that employees can take off from work with no notice, without using up their annual leave allowance. Duvet days are designed to be used when employees simply do not feel up to coming into work, but aren't technically sick.

In companies which include duvet days as part of their company policy, employees would not need to provide any notice or reasoning for their absence - they can simply say they are taking a duvet day, and then return to work as normal the next day. Essentially, there are no strings attached.

The benefit of implementing duvet days

Many companies have introduced duvet days into their policy as a response to employees taking short term absences and claiming sick leave, when in reality they are simply burnt out or in need of a break for a day.

By normalising duvet days, companies let their employees know it's okay to take a short break from work to recharge, and they are not forced to justify their reasoning for taking time off.

Taking a duvet day when they begin to feel overwhelmed can prevent an employee's mental health deteriorating further, so may actually reduce the amount of time away from work in the long run.

The majority of businesses will place a cap on the number of duvet days an employee can request - usually 1 or 2 per year.

Including duvet days as part of your company's offering can help to attract and retain employees, as it signals a healthy work culture that values mental health and a good work-life balance.

The downsides to offering duvet days

Many people have concerns around implementing a duvet day policy in their business. Some may argue that if employees are burnt out or stressed to the point they cannot work, there is a larger issue relating to company culture, which can't be fixed by a bonus day off once a year.

Others may simply think the concept is a gimmick, and these days should instead be classified as sick days or 'mental health days', which more accurately describes their use and importance to employee wellbeing. The term 'duvet day' may imply laziness, and create resentment from other employees that another member of their team is avoiding work with no consequences.

Allowing employees to take a day away from work with no notice or reason also has the potential to derail your projects and deadlines; employers who enact these policies must have trust in their employees that they will use their days wisely.

How to implement a duvet day policy

As with your other leave policies, an employee's entitlement to duvet days should be laid out in their contract or your company handbook.

You can keep track of the duvet days your team has taken in your leave management software, by creating a new leave type which doesn't deduct from their annual leave entitlement. This means you can see which employees have requested and taken duvet days, alongside their sick leave record - so you can keep a close eye on any employees who may be struggling and need intervention from HR.

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