A large insurance company has a successful long-running program, dubbed Ferris Bueller's Day Off, whichgrants employees two unplanned days off each year to kick back and enjoy. As one employee explains, "We just call in and say 'Ferris Bueller,' and we're off the hook for the day. People love it."
A 40-employee computer consulting company has an interesting accrued-time-off system called the Time Bank. Every month, 10 hours of free time (or roughly 15 days a year) are deposited into employees' individual accounts, which may be used for illness, vacation, or fun.
A Midwestern manufacturing company awards each of its 100 employees one special day a quarter to fulfill personal goals. For example, one manager who was a novice golfer used his free day to hit the links and improve his swing. Another spent time with her daughter. In return - and here's the fun part - employees had to report back on how they spent their self-improvement day. They could call in during that day and get razzed (which was strongly encouraged), or they could creatively document their doings in a report.