Among employers planning to sponsor companywide celebrations in 2011, 85% will pay the full cost of the party—down from the 89% that opted to pay the entire bill in 2009 and 2010, and the 92% that sprang for the full bill in 2008. Median per-employee expenditure for companywide parties will be $41, little changed from the $42 per employee spent last year.
The survey also found more leave and gift-giving by employers, but little change in sponsorship of holiday parties, BNA said.
Based on responses from 392 human resources and employee relations executives, 78% of employers will sponsor one or more year-end events in 2011, including luncheons, dinners, departmental gatherings and companywide parties—little changed from 2010 (76%). Employer sponsorship of companywide parties also has changed little from 2010 (58%) to 2011 (56%).
Forty-six percent of surveyed employers will give their workers some type of year-end holiday gift or bonus, up from 41% of employers in 2010 and 33% in 2009. Gift giving is at a five-year high, rebounding from the low established in 2009.
Holiday leave will be more generous this year than last. With Christmas and New Year’s Day each falling on a Sunday, 42% of employers will grant workers three or more days off with pay. In contrast, 36% granted three or more days paid leave during the 2010-2011 holiday season.Manufacturers and smaller organizations typically will have more generous holiday leave policies. Manufacturing companies (70%) are much more likely than nonmanufacturing companies (37%) or non-business concerns (31%) to give employees three or more days of paid vacation. Among employers with fewer than 1,000 workers, 44% will provide three or more paid holidays, compared with 32% of larger employers.
BNA's annual survey also found the following:
- Organizations are about as likely as they were last year to allow non-employees access to companywide parties. Half of surveyed employers (50%) will open up their companywide parties to spouses or other guests, little changed from the 52% of employers that permitted spouses or other guests to attend these parties in 2010.
- Availability of alcoholic beverages at year-end parties will be little changed from last year, although there has been a sharp decline in the availability of spirits at these parties since 2008. Fifty-five percent of surveyed employers will be serving alcoholic beverages at their parties in 2011, essentially unchanged from the 56% that made alcohol available in 2010. Nevertheless, there has been a clear declining trend since 2008, when nearly two-thirds of employers (65%) served alcohol at their year-end bashes.
- Some organizations will also sponsor other year-end celebrations. In addition to companywide holiday parties, 37% of employers will sponsor events at the unit or department level (essentially unchanged from 36% in 2010), and 35% will host informal holiday parties—sponsored and funded by employees—to be held on company time (down from 39% the previous year).
- Participation in charitable activities will be up slightly. Slightly more than two-thirds of surveyed employers (67%) plan to sponsor or participate in one or more charitable activities in 2011, up 3 percentage points from 2010 but a significant increase from 2009 levels (59%). Consistent with findings in previous years, toy collections for needy children (41%) and food collections (40%) are the top two charitable activities in which organizations will engage. Nearly three in 10 organizations (28%) will “adopt” families for charitable activities through social service agencies or schools.
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