With the 2016 holiday season nearly upon us, American workers are already planning for those get-togethers and celebrations that will consume a lot of their time over the next month-and-a-half. Fortunately, many of them will not have to worry about reporting for work on at least a few days between now and the new year. That's because paid time off is still among the most popular employee benefits in this country.
Just how prevalent is paid time off for holidays? An annual survey conducted by Bloomberg provides a good snapshot. According to Bloomberg BNA's 2016 survey, the vast majority of American companies will provide at least one full day off with pay for Thanksgiving; others will throw in Friday as well.
Bloomberg surveyed hundreds of companies and received 444 responses. Nearly all the respondents said Thanksgiving would be a paid holiday; some 80% stated that they were also offering paid time off on Black Friday. There are exceptions, however. About one-third of the respondents were businesses or organizations that, for one reason or another, cannot allow the entire staff to be off for four days straight. Bloomberg cited a zoo as one example. Even though the zoo will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, a small amount of staff will have to report to feed and care for the animals.
Paid Time Off and Payroll
The average small business offering paid time off for the holidays will be providing their employees with one of the best benefits they can offer. Paid time off demonstrates to employees that their employers care about them and their work-life balance. For employers, though, the paid time off must be accounted for in terms of payroll administration.
For example, it is not uncommon for small businesses – particularly in the retail and hospitality sectors – to require employees to be present for a full eight-hour workday, both the day before and after a holiday, in order to receive full holiday pay. This is to prevent workers from using sick and personal days on either end of a holiday to get more paid time off. With this kind of policy comes the need to document things for payroll purposes.
There is also the issue of state-mandated holiday pay to consider. Some states mandate that employees forced to work on a holiday either receive extra holiday pay or get another paid day off in exchange for having to work the holiday. These sorts of things can get complicated for the small business payroll department.
Lastly is the issue of combining the paid holiday with worker vacations. Offices across the country will be dealing with this during the 2016 holiday season, just as they do every year. Workers take their vacations around the holidays in order to take advantage of paid time off to extend vacation time. It all has to be sorted out and properly accounted for in the payroll department.
Worth the Time and Effort
The amount of time and effort the payroll department puts into keeping track of paid time off isn't tremendous by any stretch. But it is extra effort that needs to be expended. For most small businesses, it is well worth the time and effort. Showing employees the company's appreciation by offering them a day or two of paid time off around the holidays goes a long way toward boosting employee morale and increasing loyalty. The fact that paid time off during the holiday season has been entrenched in American business for so long demonstrates just how positive it can be to both employers and employees.
Bloomberg BNA – http://www.bna.com/employers-dish-days-b579820