Thursday, March 30, 2023

Dating App Bumble Allows Staff To Take Unlimited Paid Leave

Dating App Bumble Allows Staff To Take Unlimited Paid Leave

It is understood that the unlimited holiday is contingent on staff still managing to complete their work.

The move comes after the firm temporarily closed its offices in June for a week to combat workplace stress.

The new leave policy was announced alongside a series of other changes, including a plan to shut the office for a week two times a year.

Bumble said the pandemic had made it “reflect on” the ways staff worked and prompted the change in approach.

“It’s becoming increasingly clear that the way that we work, and need to work, has changed and our new policies are a reflection of what really matters and how we can best support our teams in both their work and life,” said Bumble president Tarek Shaukat.

Bumble said when the firm shuts down, some customer staff across its offices in Austin, Barcelona, London and Moscow will still work in case any of the app’s users experience issues.

A year of working from home and juggling childcare when schools were closed and other responsibilities mounted, has prompted many businesses to look again at the traditional working week.

Accountancy firm Price WaterhouseCooper said earlier this year that staff would be able to work from home a couple of days a week and start as early or late as they wanted.

The building society Nationwide also told its staff they can choose whether to work at home or in the office. Oil giant BP has told office staff they can spend two days a week working from home and several banks are examining hybrid home-office arrangements.

‘People are bad at taking holiday’

Pre-pandemic some small firms already offered staff unlimited leave, including the boss of Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson, who offered his 170 personal staff as much holiday as they wanted.

But critics say it can backfire, with staff actually taking less holiday as a result.

Ben Gately, chief operating officer at UK software firm CharlieHR, ended up offering staff other benefits such as more flexible working hours instead.

“People didn’t take enough [holiday],” Ben Gately told the BBC at the time.

“People are pretty bad at taking holidays, we’re all scared to do it because we have to do our handovers and pass stuff over and meet deadlines.

“There’s a huge amount of anxiety about not knowing the limit. A bunch of our team came to us and said: ‘Actually we’d love to know where the line is. Is it okay to take 35 days? Is it okay to take 25 days? Where should I draw the line?’ Because the reality is that it’s not actually unlimited.”

Bumble has said it’s also offering staff additional types of paid leave including 20 days for staff who are victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes and a minimum of 15 days bereavement leave for miscarriages.

Lisa King OBE, director of communications and external relations at domestic abuse charity Refuge, told the BBC more workplaces needed to be empathetic to employees who may be experiencing domestic abuse.

“Domestic abuse is the biggest social issue impacting women and children and it’s great to see that companies are beginning to recognize this and place it at the center of their policies. We hope that other companies follow their lead,” she continued.

Bumble has had a busier year than most firms, with a stock market debut, and rapid growth in user numbers.

With lockdown restrictions, the dating app saw the number of paid users across Bumble and Badoo, which Bumble also owns, up by 30% to 2.8 million, in the three months to 31 March, compared with the same period last year.

Its founder Whitney Wolfe Herd also became the youngest woman, at 31, to take a company public in the US when she oversaw Bumble’s stock market debut in February. Bumble shares however have shed 25% since the company’s initial public offering in February.

Ms. Wolfe Herd also co-founded the dating app Tinder but left the firm alleging sexual harassment. Tinder’s parent company Match Group Inc, which denied the claims and later tried unsuccessfully to acquire Bumble, paid about $1m to settle the dispute.

The company has 42 million monthly users in over 150 countries and recently announced plans for a new café and wine bar in New York.