Employees: You Don't Bring Us Turkeys Anymore

November 17, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Employer practices for Thanksgiving time off and pay for holiday work haven't really changed, but the days of turkey-giving to employees seem to be gone.

BNA’s Holiday Practices Survey data showed that, while in each of the past 10 years 5% to 6% of employers have given their employees a turkey for Thanksgiving, for 2005 only 2% of employers plan to do so. In its press release BNA speculates this is due to concerns over the avian flu.

After a gift giving spike from 23% of employers in 2004, gift giving has fallen in line with the previous year’s numbers to 14% in 2005, according to BNA. Seven percent of employers surveyed who will give a gift said they are giving gift certificates for food and 5% plan to give a holiday luncheon or dinner for employees.

By industry, 22% of those giving gifts are manufacturing organizations, 14% are non-manufacturing organizations, and 8% are non-business entities such as government employers, hospitals, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations. Sixteen percent of those giving gifts are smaller employers (less than 1,000 employees), while 5% are larger employers. BNA found that none of the surveyed employers with unionized workforces planned to give Thanksgiving gifts to their employees.

Holiday time off and work practices are more in line with previous years’ findings. Of the 184 employers responding to the 2005 survey, 69% have designated both Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after as paid holidays in 2005. Although the 2004 survey showed a larger proportion of employers granting two paid days off (73%), the 2005 figure is in line with typical figures from the past 10 years (ranging from 67% to 71%).

Thirty-seven percent of employers will require a small number of essential employees to work on Thanksgiving day, the same as in 2004. Sixty-seven percent of larger employers will require Thanksgiving-day work from select employees and only 28% of smaller organizations will. Security and public safety workers are most likely to be required to work on Thanksgiving (19%), followed by service/maintenance staff (12%), professional employees (10%), and technical personnel (8%). Only 3% of the organizations surveyed will require production workers to be present on Thanksgiving Day.

Those who have to work on the holiday will be compensated for their time in one form or another. Fifty-two percent of employers will pay workers overtime pay for Thanksgiving Day, while 14% will provide both overtime pay and comp time. Nine percent will offer employees comp time only, and another 9% will base their holiday compensation on whether an employee is exempt for non-exempt, a line worker or supervisor, etc.

BNA Holiday Practices Survey data comes from 184 employers represented by human resource and employee relations executives. The employers represented different industry sectors and business sizes. Data was collected in October.