Paid Holidays

When it comes to planning what your company’s paid holidays will be in 2015, it’s worth taking a look at what other organizations do. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recently released its study of 2015 Paid Holidays. This year’s study included responses from 492 different HR professionals. Conducted during the month of October, the survey respondents worked in companies of various size, with 33% in organizations with 100-499 employees, 27% at companies with 1-99 employees, 19% in organizations with 2,500-24,999 employees, 17% in organizations with 500-2,499 employees, and 5% in organizations with 25,000 or more employees.

The study reveals that on average companies offer nine paid holidays, including the following seven federal holidays among most organizations (the percentage of responding companies is noted in parentheses):

  1. New Year’s Day, Thursday January 1 (95%).
  2. Memorial Day, Monday May 25 (94%).
  3. Day before Independence Day, Friday July 3 (60%).
  4. Independence Day, Saturday July 4 (76%).
  5. Labor Day, Monday September 7 (95%).
  6. Thanksgiving Day, Thursday November 26 (97%).
  7. Christmas Day, Friday December 25 (97%).

In addition to those “big 7” holidays, other federal holidays recognized by fewer organizations include the following:

  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Monday January 19 (37%).
  • Presidents Day, Monday February 16 (35%).
  • Columbus Day, Monday October 12 (16%).
  • Veterans Day, Wednesday November 11 (20%).

Many organizations will also close their doors for a paid holiday on Christmas Eve (47%) on Thursday December 24, while many fewer offer a paid holiday on Good Friday (28%) on Friday April 3. The first day of Passover, which is a major Jewish holiday, will be offered as a paid holiday among only 3% of organizations on Saturday April 4. The other big closure day for paid holidays includes the day after Thanksgiving on Friday November 27, on which 76% of survey respondents will be closed.

Although nine paid holidays is the average, it’s worth noting that 21% of organizations have indicated that they will offer a total of 10 paid holidays in 2015 to full-time employees, with 22% saying they will offer 10 paid holidays to part-time staff.

Another development that is interesting to note is how many organizations are beginning to offer what is called “floating holidays,” meaning the organization offers some amount of paid time off to observe holidays not already on the company schedule. A popular use of this time is to take one’s birthday off as a paid holiday. Of the responding organizations, 36% will offer at least one floating holiday, with 43% offering just one, 29% offering two, 14% offering 3, 9% offering 4 and only 5% offering five or more floating holidays.

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