Everybody enjoys a day off on a special occasion–especially if it’s a paid day off–and employers realize the benefits of offering such perks to employees. Employers may question, though, whether they’re handling holidays in the best way. The recent BLR Holiday Practices Survey provides insights on a variety of holiday practices.
The survey asked employers their plans for time off around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Here’s what they said:
- Thanksgiving: For the 2012 holiday, 65.1 percent of survey respondents said both Thanksgiving Day and the day after will be paid holidays. Just 1.3 percent of respondents offer no paid time off during Thanksgiving.
- Christmas: Almost all respondents – 93 percent – said they will provide December 25 as a paid holiday, and 43.6 percent also will offer December 24 paid. Three percent are offering December 26 as a paid day off, and 4.8 percent will provide the whole week off with pay. A few respondents – 1.2 percent – will offer no paid time off at Christmas.
- New Year’s: The first day of the new year will be a paid holiday for 95.9 percent of survey respondents. Just 21.9 percent will offer New Year’s Eve paid. Less than one-half of one percent of respondents will offer January 2 or New Year’s week as paid days off, and 1.6 percent will offer no pay for the holiday.
In 2013, over 90 percent of survey participants will offer Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day as paid holidays. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Presidents’ Day will be paid holidays for 30.1 percent and 32 percent, respectively. Columbus Day will be a paid day off for 13.8 percent, and Boxing Day (December 26) will be paid for 4.3 percent of the respondents.
Some employers reported offering nontraditional paid holidays such as Chinese New Year, the company picnic day, a “civic” day, the day after the April 15 tax deadline, the employee’s birthday, the in-house ski party day, Mardi Gras Day, rodeo recess, and Staff Appreciation Day.
How many days off?
Among survey participants, 43.3 percent said they will offer nine to 11 paid holidays in 2013; 39.6 percent said they have six to eight paid days; 12 percent said they’ll offer 12 or more, and 2.3 percent said they have one to five paid holidays. Just 0.8 percent reported they offer no paid holidays, and 2.1 percent answered “other.”
How does that stack up to 2012? Most respondents (93.6 percent) said 2013 will have the same number of paid holidays as 2012. Some respondents (3.3 percent) said they’ll offer fewer days in 2013 than they did in 2012, and about the same number (3.2 percent) will offer more days in 2013.
The survey also asked employers if they paid extra to nonexempt employees who are required to work on holidays, and 20.2 percent said they pay for the holiday plus time and a half; 5.6 percent said they pay for the holiday plus double time. Just regular pay is paid by 14.2 percent of the respondents, and nine percent said they offer another day off with pay.
Employers also were asked if employees with an unexcused absence the workday before or after a holiday still receive holiday pay. Thirty-nine percent said yes, and 61 percent said no.
In many workplaces, not everyone can be off on a holiday. So employers have to have policies governing how the days will be granted. Among survey participants, 26 percent said they leave it up to the supervisor, and 24.2 percent give the day to the employee who asks first.
Other options noted for determining who gets the day off include an informal seniority/rank system cited by 9.7 percent of survey respondents and a formal system based on seniority, rank, etc. reported by 7.6 percent of employers answering the survey.
Just over nine percent said employees take turns from year to year, and 14.7 percent of respondents said the decision isn’t a problem and everyone gets what they want.
A total of 1,936 organizations participated in the survey, conducted during October. The majority–68.5 percent–of respondents provide HR services to a workforce of 1-250 employees. Another 10.2 percent are employers of 251-500 percent, and 7.4 percent have a workforce of 501-1,000 employees.
Just under half – 46.4 percent of the participants are in service industries; 22.7 percent are in agriculture, forestry, construction, manufacturing, or mining; 7.9 percent are in wholesale, retail, transportation, or warehousing; and 23.2 percent are in real estate, utilities, or “other.”
Tammy Binford writes and edits news alerts and newsletter articles on labor and employment law topics for BLR Web and print publications. In addition, she writes for HR Hero Line and Diversity Insight, two of the ezines and blogs found on HRHero.com.