The reward for making San Francisco-based Charles Schwab Corp. the most successful discount brokerage in the world?
In addition to millionaire status for one in 10 of Schwab's 13,000 employees (thanks to zooming company stock prices), there's a four-week paid sabbatical for every employee who's been with the company for at least five years.
Beginning in April 2000 (well after potential Y2K blow-ups, said a spokesman), long-term Schwab employees can take a month off to pursue whatever interests them. And it's not a one-time offer: employees are eligible for a sabbatical every five years.
Schwab lost some key employees recently to early retirement -- William Klipp, the 43-year-old president and chief operating officer of the company's investment management arm, and Luis Valencia, 54, president of Schwab International -- and the idea is to keep employees happy by letting them recharge their batteries, away from the hustle of business.
Glen Mathiesen, a company spokesman, said the idea of a paid sabbatical is naturally getting the attention of a lot of employees. A few years ago, when Schwab sought to implement a cost-cutting program, employees were offered unpaid sabbaticals and jumped at the idea. "I suspect there will be a lot of interest in this offer," he said, adding that the details of who will be off and when remain to be sorted out. "We can't have everyone take off together in April next year!"