More Employers Scheduling Two Days off for Turkey Day

November 7, 2007 ( - More employers than ever are designating both Thanksgiving Day and the day after as paid holidays, a new survey has found.

A news report from legal publisher BNA said its latest annual poll of workplace holiday plans found that 78% of employers surveyed are going with the two-day Turkey Day holiday. That’s up from 74% in 2006 and 69% in 2005 and represents the highest total for the two-day holiday since the survey began in 1980, BNA said.

Virtually all employers (99%) are giving workers Thanksgiving Day off, but “a substantial minority” of respondents said they consider the following day as a regular work day. More than one in three employers (36%) said they will schedule some staffers to be on duty on Thanksgiving Day, comparable with 2006 results (35%), and results from 2005 and 2004 (both 37%).

Service/maintenance and security/public safety personnel are the most likely to be required to work on Thanksgiving Day, BNA found.

Some 12% of employers indicated they would give their employees a gift – a slight decrease from the 14% which reported doing so in 2005 but down significantly from the 23% that gave gifts during the 2004 Thanksgiving holiday.

According to the BNA report, survey findings also included:

  • Nine out of 10 manufacturers (90%) will give their employees both Thanksgiving Day and the following Friday as paid holidays. This compares to eight out of 10 (81%) employers in nonbusiness organizations (hospitals, educational facilities and government organizations) and seven out of 10 in nonmanufacturing organizations (69%).
  • Union shops are more likely than those without unions (86% vs. 76%) to have employees take Thursday and Friday off for the Thanksgiving holiday.
  • Overall, 36% of the organizations surveyed in 2007 will require at least some employees to work during the holiday. BNA said that while the figure has fluctuated plus or minus 1% or 2% since 2004, it is substantially below the proportion of organizations that scheduled workers on Thanksgiving Day in 2003 (44%) and 2002 (47%).
  • As in previous years, a majority of nonbusiness organizations (61%) will assign Thanksgiving Day duty to at least some employees. This is more than twice the proportion of nonmanufacturing (26%) and manufacturing organizations (16%) that plan to assign holiday work.
  • Overtime pay (56%) is the most frequent form of compensation. Just under one in five employers (17%) will provide both overtime pay and compensatory time to holiday workers, while 7% will give employees holiday compensatory time only.
  • Given as a gift by between 5% and 6% of employers from 2000 to 2004, the proportion of employers giving turkeys declined to 2% in 2005 and 3% in 2006.

A total of 210 employers represented by human resource and employee relations executives responded to the survey. Of these, 24% were manufacturing companies, 40% were nonmanufacturing companies, and 35% were nonbusiness organizations.

Data was collected from September 25 to October 12, 2007 using a self-administered questionnaire.