A TAUNTON firm has told staff they can take as much holiday as they like.

The unlimited annual holiday allowance at Cooper Associates aims to allow employees to enjoy a stress-free work/life balance and improve performance.

The financial advisory based in St James Street introduced a pilot scheme for all staff from the start of this year.

Bosses believe it will provide workers with flexibility in how they work and enable the company to attract and retain talent.

Ros Kirk, Cooper's head of property strategy and development, said: "Discretionary holiday allowance was introduced and piloted to the management team and then the wider work force to realign our people’s focus on client service, engagement, delivery of results and work/life balance.

"We care about our clients and we care about our people so it’s only natural to give them an environment where the two can flourish.

"We wanted to further underpin a culture of trust, professionalism and service excellence and we felt this could be achieved by placing complete confidence in our people by empowering them to decide when they take their holiday.

"As part of this process they will naturally need to consider the needs of their clients and colleagues, in addition to our commitment to service excellence as a group.

"It also enables them flexibility in how they work - for example they often willingly work additional hours to meet our clients’ needs and, as a result, exceed their expectations.

"In return we want our people to feel their work ethic and behaviour is rewarded with a flexible and adult work environment.

"We recruit only the best and right people for this business and we trust their intuition and judgement on how they meet client needs, achieve goals and make this work for them both personally and professionally.

"Whilst this benefit is discretionary, we of course also have a responsibility to ensure our people are taking enough holiday and meeting statutory requirements, so this will be closely monitored by the business."

Cooper Associates has previously introduced flexible working patterns, with employees enjoying the flexibility to work from home, as well as flexible-working hours where appropriate.

The move has resulted in higher employee satisfaction levels and a reduction in administration.