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U.S. employers to offer much merriment over the holidays

Bloomberg Law has released the results of its annual year-end holiday practices survey on how companies manage paid holidays and days off, office parties, and gifts and bonuses over the winter holidays, and it seems the next two weeks will be a good time for many of us.

“With Christmas and New Year’s falling on Mondays, fewer employers are inclined to provide another paid day off during the holidays,” said Molly Huie, Manager, Surveys and Reports, Bloomberg Law. “The silver lining for U.S. workers is that the vast majority of establishments will have some kind of workplace holiday party and many will also get to enjoy two consecutive three-day weekends with pay.”

Bring on the egg nog

Three out of four employers will host some sort of holiday party. Seventy-six percent of organizations will host one or more holiday parties. Four in five smaller organizations—those under 1,000 employees—will sponsor a party (80 percent), compared to three in five (63 percent) larger enterprises.

Of organizations hosting companywide parties, the majority will have alcohol available, with most taking measures to prevent overconsumption. Seventy-seven percent of companywide celebrations will feature alcohol. Of those organizations serving alcoholic drinks, 86 percent will employ one or more safeguards to prevent excessive consumption such as having bartenders monitor drinks or offering cab or ridesharing services. 

Extra time for holiday mirth

Three or more paid holidays are slated for employees at nearly one in two organizations (48 percent). As is typically the case when Christmas and New Year’s fall on a Monday, employers’ willingness to provide an “extra” day off is dampened. Aside from Christmas and New Year’s, the day employers are most likely to provide as a paid day off is the day after Christmas (36 percent).

Manufacturers are the most generous with paid time off. Over three out of five (62 percent) manufacturers will provide three or more paid days off during the season, compared with 46 percent of non-manufacturers and 45 percent of nonbusiness organizations. For most, this means Christmas Day, the day after Christmas, and New Year’s Day. However, one quarter of manufacturers will also give Friday, December 29 as a paid day off.

But not everyone will get time off

Over three in ten businesses (34 percent) will have at least a few workers punching the clock for one or both holidays. Those employees most likely to be at work on Christmas or New Year’s Day are public safety and security personnel (at 18 percent of employers) and service and maintenance workers (17 percent).

Over four in five organizations (85 percent) will provide employees extra compensation for holiday work. Additional forms of payment include double pay (31 percent), time-and-one-half pay (24 percent), and regular pay in addition to comp time (12 percent).

Scrooges are the exception—not the norm. Just six percent of employers will only provide regular pay for working on Christmas or New Year’s Day. 

Better than a lump of coal

Year-end gifts and bonuses are slated for approximately two in five employees. Thirty-nine percent of employers will give gifts or bonuses to their workers. Approximately three in ten of employers will award holiday bonuses while one in ten will provide merchandise, gift cards or gift certificates.

Holiday gifts are modest for all employees. The median estimated expenditure per employee for gifts is $35 and the median cash award is $450 for management and $300 for non-management employees.

Spreading holiday cheer

Philanthropic efforts remain a holiday mainstay for many employers. Over three out of five organizations (65 percent) will sponsor community or charitable activities during the holidays. Toy and food drives are the most popular programs, in place at 49 percent and 44 percent, respectively, of organizations.

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