Monday, January 07, 2013

Home for the Holidays?

Happy New Year from all of us at Astron Solutions! As we start the new year, we start a new year of holidays and vacation time for all employees. But as companies try to maximize productivity and eliminate as much "unnecessary" vacation time as possible, which days out of the year are truly mandatory to give off and which ones are "optional"? The question may seem simple but there is a great amount of ambiguity as it pertains to both public employees and those that work for the private sector.

According to Compensation Today, without a collective bargaining agreement or contract that says that you have to, technically there is no federal law that says that you have to provide any holidays for nonexempt employees, yet 97% of companies due, mostly to create goodwill among their employees and keep up with societal norms. Some companies provide a lot of vacation time for their employees and some provide very little, but the actual days that are provided change by company and geography.

According to WorkAtWork's Survey from 2010, the top 6 days off for any type of system of paid holidays were New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Christmas Day (all clocking in at ~90% or above). After that was the Day aft Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve which were both highly provided.Others got President's Day/Washington's Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr Day, New Year's Eve, Good Friday, Veteran's Day, and/or Columbus Day.

But that doesn't mean everyone gets all of these--far from it. Even the states can't agree on who gets what days off. MLK Day, which is coming up, is celebrated in almost every state as a legal holiday but Rhode Island doesn't recognize it as such. But Rhode Island celebrates Columbus Day as a day off which 22 other states don't give to their employees.

The key? Find out which days you "need" people in the office. Sure, you could probably use people in the office 7 days a week for 52 weeks of the year, but in lieu of that, which days are your clients not working that you can give them all off. Start with those as the base days off. Then figure out a good amount of days that make sense to have off and work towards those. Figure out what's normal for your industry and what's fair for your employees based on their location and come up with an easy-to-follow, smart, and, most importantly, consistent vacation schedule. The last thing you want is your employees planning something for their annual MLK Day off just to find out when they come back to work after New Years that they will have to work that day.

1 comment:

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