Employers Less Generous with Thanksgiving Leave

November 5, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The BNA Holiday Practices Survey indicates employers are less generous this year than they were in 2007 in granting paid time off during the Thanksgiving holiday season.

However, BNA says the proportion of employers requiring some employees to work on Thanksgiving Day is at a 20-year low.

According to a BNA news report of the survey findings, nearly three out of four surveyed employers (73%) have designated both Thanksgiving Day and the day after as paid holidays in 2008, down from the 78% that did so in 2007 (See More Employers Scheduling Two Days off for Turkey Day ). Nearly all of the surveyed employers (98%) have scheduled Thanksgiving Day as a paid day off for employees.

Workers in the manufacturing sector (92%) and unionized workers (90% versus 69% without unions) are the most likely to enjoy a four-day holiday weekend.Just over seven in 10 employers (72%) in non-business concerns (such as hospitals, educational facilities, and government organizations) and 64% of employers in nonmanufacturing organizations will give workers the day off both Thanksgiving Day and the day after.

The proportion of employers that will offer a four-day holiday weekend does not differ significantly between larger organizations of 1,000 employees or more (69%) and smaller organizations (74%).

Holiday Work

A third of employers will require some employees to work on Thanksgiving Day, down from 36% in 2007. Those most likely to be working are service/maintenance (15%) and security/public safety personnel (14%).

Non-business organizations (48%), large employers (65%), and unionized organizations (53%) are much more likely to require Thanksgiving Day work.By comparison, 28% of nonmanufacturing organizations and 18% with manufacturing concerns, 26% of small organizations, and 28% of those without a union presence will require Thanksgiving Day work.

A majority of employees who are required to work on Thanksgiving Day will receive additional compensation, the BNA survey found.Overtime pay (50%) is the most frequent form of compensation. Just over one in 10 employers (13%) will provide both overtime pay and compensatory time to holiday workers, while 6% will give employees holiday compensatory time only.

Thanksgiving holiday gift giving to employees is also down, according to the BNA Holiday Practices Survey. Twelve percent of employers will give their employees some type of gift - the lowest level of Thanksgiving holiday gift giving recorded over the past 15 years, according to BNA.

Byindustry, manufacturing organizations (23%) are most generous in their gift giving, with nonmanufacturing (11%) and non-business concerns (8%) less generous. Gift giving for the Thanksgiving holiday does not differ significantly between large and small organizations or between unionized and nonunionized establishments, BNA said.

After staging a comeback in 2007, the Thanksgiving turkey has resumed its decline as the gift of choice for the Thanksgiving holidays. Turkeys were given as a gift by between 5% and 6% of employers from 2000 to 2004, declined to 2% in 2005 and 3% in 2006, and returned to 6% in 2007. However, BNA found in 2008 employer turkey-giving will fall back to 3

Gift certificates are the most popular Thanksgiving gift (8%), and holiday luncheons or dinners as Thanksgiving gifts to employees have declined to 2% in 2008.

The survey featured responses from 293 employers represented by human resources and employee relations executives.