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The world on the company dime

(Peter Hoey for The Boston Globe)
By Johnny Diaz
Globe Staff / November 6, 2011

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The tradition was to reward loyal employees with a gold watch to mark their years of service. International Data Group has a better idea - a vacation, and not just any vacation. In return for long service, IDG gives employees a paid trip to anywhere.

Once employees reach 20 years at the research company, they are eligible to receive a travel award to a location of their choice. The award is a fixed amount meant to cover everything; family and friends are welcome.

Employees can create their own customized “trip of a lifetime,’’ said Howard Sholkin, director of communications and marketing programs at the company, which has 743 employees in Massachusetts, mostly in Framingham.

In the past two years, about 45 employees have taken advantage of the benefit. The destinations include Australia, Belize, Italy, Cape Verde, and New Zealand, to name a few.