3 On Your Side

Some employers giving 'paid, paid vacations'

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Catherine Shyu loves taking vacation. And she loves it even more that her boss pays her to do it. It’s part of his paid paid vacation policy.

She explains, “My first one was a cruise around the Caribbean because I've never been there before. My second one last year was to Belize and then my most recent one I got back from was to Hawaii.”

More than just giving her paid time off, the company she works for, Full Contact, also gave her $7,500 to take each trip.

All the employees can do it. Shyu explains, “The real spirit of the program is to have people bring their best selves to work. And the way to really do that is by getting a refresher once in awhile.”

Sound too good to be true? Her boss, the CEO of Full Contact, Bart Lorang, explains there is a catch or two, telling us, “One is they have to go on vacation to get the money. Two: they have to disconnect and go off the grid, so completely detached from electronics and communications to get the money. And three is they can't actually work while they're on vacation.”

Pretty cool concept, right? Well, the Society for Human Resource Management says it’s rare — just 1 percent of companies offer a vacation stipend.

But it’s an idea that is growing in many forms.

“The vacation really helps because it just forces us to go off, do something else, and come back ready to work again,” Shyu says.

Lorang says it was created from his own shortfalls with family, explaining, “I'd be the guy checking my email or sneaking off to the business center and I wasn't really present with the folks that I was with.”

Add that to the average employee’s workweek lasts much longer than 40 hours and the 658 million unused vacation days each year, and you have a whole lot of work martyrs.

Lorang doesn’t want that in his office. He says, “If somebody is actually relaxed and productive after their paid vacation they're a better employee.”

Shyu says it’s a benefit she doesn’t take for granted, explaining, “We all stay here longer because of this vacation policy just in terms of having a set time every single year to go off the grid and recharge. Otherwise we run into this risk of burning out.”

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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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