BOSTON (CBS) — Imagine if your boss told you that you now have unlimited vacation time to use whenever you want, and you didn’t even have to give advance notice. Sound too good to be true?

It’s the new reality for some workers, after business mogul Richard Branson announced on his blog Tuesday that he’s letting all Virgin Group staff take as much time off as they want. He says he got the idea from a new Netflix initiative recognizing that 9-5 hours rarely apply in the modern workplace.

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“We should focus on what people get done, not on how many hours or days worked,” Netflix writes. “Just as we don’t have a nine-to-five policy, we don’t need a vacation policy.”

The decision to jet off is completely up to the worker, according to Branson.

WBZ Business Breakfast

WBZ Business Breakfast

“It is left to the employee alone to decide if and when he or she feels like taking a few hours, a day, a week or a month off,” Branson said. “The assumption being that they are only going to do it when they feel a hundred per cent comfortable that they and their team are up to date on every project and that their absence will not in any way damage the business – or, for that matter, their careers!”

But would American workers even take advantage of such an enticing offer?

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Maybe not, according to one recent survey. Employment site Glassdoor said in April that employees in the United States only used half of their vacation time in the past 12 months, citing fears that no other colleague could do their job, or concerns about falling behind.

And for those who do take time off, most are hardly unplugged. Glassdoor said 61 percent of vacationers admitted to working on their breaks thanks to smartphones and laptops.

“You are seeing the American worker say, ‘I may be out of the office, but work is really, really important,'” Glassdoor expert Rusty Rueff told CBS News.


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