Programmers sometimes get a little burned out and a little vacation can help. It used to be many hi-tech companies give 10 vacation days and 10 sick days per year. But in recent years, I have seen vacation and sick days combined to become Paid Time Off (PTO). Each year may be 15 days or 12 days. (plus 1 floating and 9 fixed holidays such as Thanksgiving, Xmas, and New Year day) (Update: California doesn't not require any sick day for any company at all, so companies, to stay competitive, may not want to have sicks days and end up losing to other companies)
And then I know some companies have unlimited vacation time, such as Netflix or Zynga, but then an experienced programmer told me many VPs in hi-tech companies also have unlimited vacation, but because they are so busy, practically in a year, they don't take any vacation at all. It is also a bit strange that if unlimited is the policy, then what if Peter wants Dec 1 to Jan 1 for Xmas vacation, and John wants Nov 20 to Jan 1? How do people decide what is fair if they can decide the length when it is unlimited?
It resembles a little bit like program such as FTP, where if the bandwidth is set to 300k/s, then it is 300k/s, but when it is set to 0, that means it is unlimited. So "unlimited" in this case is also the same as "zero". I'd like to find out how it is in different companies? Is your company or your post or what you hear about unlimited vacation and how it is like in real practice?