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Start-up Offers Workers $7,500 to Take a Break

Amid a competitive market for tech workers, extravagant employee perks are back on the table.

One start-up has just upped the stakes in the recruiting battle for high-tech talent.

FullContact, a Denver technology company, recently announced this change to its vacation policy: Go away, get off the grid, and get paid $7,500 to do it.

Dubbed "paid, paid vacation" by company CEO Bart Lorang, the policy gives employees the money to pay for their trip away, as long as they completely disconnect from work.

Lorang explained the generous vacation policy on the company's blog:

If people know they will be disconnecting and going off the grid for an extended period of time, they might actually keep that in mind as they help build the company. ... At the end of the day, the company will improve.

FullContact is hardly the first technology company to try to lure talent with sweet perks. During the last dot-com boom, tech companies broke new ground by offering concierge services, massage therapists, dry cleaning, and other freebies; Google's food offerings were so generous that new workers reportedly began to complain about the "Google 15." 

Now benefits packages are again in the spotlight. Here are a few other offers we've been hearing about.

  • Paid parental leave and "baby cash": Facebook offers several perks, such as free meals three times a day, 21 days' paid vacation, and 100% health coverage. But it seems the Menlo Park, California-based company has a particular soft spot for parents, offering four months of paid parental leave, reimbursement for day care and adoption fees, and $4,000 "baby cash" for the new arrival. 
  • Relaxation and pet care: To keep its workers inspired and creative, social game maker Zynga has "relaxation lounges" stocked with different gaming systems and arcade games. Employee pets also get on-site grooming, USA Today reports. The gaming company also provides on-site massages, haircuts, reflexology, and acupuncture. 
  • Paid, month-long sabbaticals: Red Frog Events, a Chicago-based company that boasts of having the "world's best benefits," pays for employees to take a month-long sabbatical to Africa, Asia, Europe, or South America--with any one other person or a spouse and children. (It also offers a free birthday massage and unlimited vacation days.)



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Last updated: Jul 12, 2012

CAITLIN BERENS | Staff Writer

Caitlin Berens writes about business innovation and entrepreneurs. Before Inc., she worked at Billboard, SELF, and Better Homes and Gardens. She attended Drake University, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.




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