SURVEY SAYS: Easter Holiday

Yesterday was Easter.

Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “Does your company offer a paid holiday for Easter, and do you think companies should offer a paid holiday for Easter?”

Nearly three in 10 responding readers (29.6%) get a paid holiday the Friday before Easter, and the rest do not get a paid holiday for Easter. Slightly more than 38% of respondents said they think companies should offer a paid holiday for Easter, while 41.7% said they shouldn’t and 19.8% had no opinion.

I also asked readers if they feel it’s fair for companies to offer paid holidays for one religious group’s celebrations and not others’—50.5% said ‘yes,’ 12.4% said ‘no, and I think they should not be offered,’ and 37.1% said, ‘not fair, but I like having the time off.’

Perhaps because of that last question, some readers who left comments expressed very strong feelings about religious holidays. Some pointed out that the “religious” holidays have become so secular, they could just be named something else (like Spring Holiday instead of Good Friday) and be fair to all. Some pointed out that they are off because the market is closed, not for religious reasons. Others suggested extra PTO days or floating holidays in place of certain holidays. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “It should be added as a floating holiday so anyone may use it for their own religious observance.”

Thank you to all who responded to the survey!


I think we should have Good Friday off since markets are closed. But, maybe they can call it Spring break so as not to offend anyone.

We receive a paid Holiday if we work at least 4 hours on Good Friday. I can see the time where employers stop offering any benefits due to the political correctness of certain offerings - they have already stopped doing Holiday parties at the end of the calendar year due to complaints by a few staff about the place, time or other perceived offense.

Maybe we should all get extra PTO rather than have the holidays off. Then again, if most people take the same holiday off, who's going to be there to work?

We actually pay time off for Good Friday and just don't normally work Easter Sunday. However when we do we consider it a holiday and pay double time plus Holiday pay.

Our employees receive a certain number of hours for paid holidays. Easter is on Sunday. The employees on the weekend shift use 12 hours of their total for that holiday.

We used to have Good Friday off (called Spring Holiday) but it was taken away. However, we did keep Martin Luther King Day, not sure how that was decided if management felt that we needed to get rid of one because they were being over-generous with holidays relative to other companies. Easter may be a Christian holiday, but it has also become a very secular holiday, and is often associated with Spring Break. Generally the non-Christians will still certainly take advantage of the Easter and Christmas paid holidays AND they will take their additional holidays off with pay as well. If anything, they benefit from the "unfairness" of not having their holidays as paid time off for everybody like Easter and Christmas.

I find it odd that people get off work early on Good Friday because they have to go to church or start their weekend early.

We only get holidays that correspond with the stock market being closed so it's not entirely religion driven. It's not necessarily fair to offer some holidays but not others. If you can't conduct business on those days since everything is closed does it make sense to have people in the office? I think the unfairness could be minimized if more companies offered 1 or 2 floating holidays a year to be used at employee's discretion to cover holidays that might not be widely recognized.

I think a religious holiday should be granted to all employees, regardless of religion, and the individual allowed to take it at his/her discretion, EVEN IF IT INCONVENIENCES THE EMPLOYER BECAUSE SO MANY WANT TO TAKE THE SAME DAY.

Our country has always observed Christmas as a holiday and not as a holy day. As a Christian, I observe the Christian holidays and holy days; however, Christmas has become so commercial and has become a seasonal holiday with all of the religious aspect practically nil in our secular society. Therefore, while many refer to the Christmas season, for non-observant Christians and non-Christians it has become a sort of annual year-end celebration ritual (with appropriate days off from work--usually paid). While I recognize that this country is a "melting pot" with more and more nationalities, religions and ethnic practices thrown into the pot, we should still honor many of the holidays that have been in place for a long time. Easter, on the other hand is the holiest of Christian holy days and is always on a Sunday...If an individual desires to take a day off from work for observance (or recovery) purposes, that's what vacation and personal days are for. A company should provide for paid religious observance days if it does not provide adequate personal or vacation days.

Why not have holidays for major religions. The US still has a lot fewer holidays than European nations.

I think all companies, instead of vacation days, should go to PTO (personal time off) days instead, so that if employees want time off to observe a "non-nationally observed" religious holiday/holy day then they would have the option to take it off (Ramadan, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, Kwanzaa). That said, I find it interesting that like the myriad of commercials during these seasons, you also are tying a monetary value to it.

Verbatim (cont.) 

I usually just bite the bullet and take part of a vacation day on Good Friday. That gives me time to attend services and prepare for the family time that holiday weekend.

If I want to take off, I can use vacation or PTO. My choice. But, I am always in favor of more Holidays!

Christmas is not religious to the majority who 'celebrate' it so I don't consider it a paid religious holiday. I am annoyed by folks not knowing why they get Memorial Day off as a paid holiday.

Any company claiming religious exemption to various rules (such as medical coverage) should be giving time off for religious holidays!

American was founded on Christian beliefs and principals

PTO policies should be flexible enough to accommodate a person's religious or family events. That said, Christmas has become secular and universal enough that time off should continue to be granted.

I'd be open to different days off - instead of religious holidays in general. It might make travel easier if everyone didn't have the same holidays.

Good Friday was always a "good ole boy" holiday and I've had that day off with many different oil and gas companies. I love a holiday but I'd rather have President's Day instead!

Our company offers a few personal days that can be used at the employees' discretion. If you want Good Friday off, use a personal day.

This country was founded as a Christian nation so I feel it is OK to only offer paid holiday for Christian holidays. Our Constitution allows freedom to worship as you feel. It does not say, however, that the Country has to be non-Christian.

The more company holidays the better. I would rather have holidays than schedule paid time off or vacation. I would rather work for an employer with generous holidays where everyone is off than for an employer with generous vacation because with holidays everyone get a break from BOTH in-box and out-box items.

Verbatim (cont.) 

I believe that the majority of the U.S. still has a Christian affiliation. So from strictly a numbers perspective, it's less disruptive to business to uniformly be on holiday. But, no harm, no foul...we manage to be productive when our company is at work but the post office, schools, and some other businesses are closed for less widely observed federal holidays such as Columbus Day, Veterans Day & MLK Day.

This is the second year that Good Friday is not an official holiday for us. The firm gave us an extra personal day to use. I'm very happy to work on Good Friday and use the personal day later in the year for Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur.

How about having a holiday for St Patrick's Day?

At least have Good Friday off. The banks and most businesses are closed, so what is the point for our company to be open.

Although we have Good Friday off, we do not celebrate this day off in a religious context. It is simply a day off at the start of spring.

Collectively, Christian faiths outnumber non-Christian faiths in the U.S. Most U.S. workers get paid time off for Christmas and some do for Good Friday as well. Countries dominated by non-Christian faiths have their religious holidays as well, without paid time off for Christian celebrations. We can argue about the fairness, but the fact remains that this has been the history of our country and is unlikely to change.

It should be added as a floating holiday so anyone may use it for their own religious observance

Yes -- at least for now, we are a Christian nation.

So by offering every religious group time off for religious celebrations you are suggesting that the business only work one day a year?

I think family time is important. Having a special day, makes it easier to recognize a special time spent time together

Verbatim (cont.) 

My mother was a fiery Irish woman. As she aged she kept the Irish glint in those green eyes but the fire subsided to a warm, welcoming, cozy glow. She'd say; "keep moving ere for t'aint worth ta fight". I believe she'd counsel, nor is this.

I think that this is a predominantly Christian country and that is why companies declare Good Friday as a holiday. As times have changed, fewer people actually observe Good Friday. Now it’s just a day off in the spring, something to break up the calendar.

if that holiday is one you celebrate and take part in yes. This is a Christian County and we should be proud and honor the one who made it that way! In God we Trust!

Many companies offer PTO with holidays built into the accrual to deal with the issue of religious holidays. Some companies offer floating holidays to deal with it. I think most companies can find a way to deal with it fairly.

I'm struggling with this. As a not very religious person I don't like the idea of a paid day off being related to a religion. However, holidays like Christmas are not just about religion anymore but rather time to get together with family. In the real world, I feel it's reasonable to have designated paid holidays for the majority religion but also offer a floating paid holiday(s) to everyone to be used as needed (either for an extra day off for the majority or to be used as a designated holiday for those in the minority). Either way, I'm just happy to have the time off!

Unlike other holidays, Easter is ALWAYS on a Sunday. So most people have off anyway. But for companies and institutions where Sunday is a workday (e.g., hospitals, restaurants), holiday pay for those who must work is appropriate. (So the choices available to question 2 were not adequate.)

The third question hits the issue on the nose. I'm not Christian, and the Christian holidays are meaningless to me. It bothers me when people schedule meetings over Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur. I would never think to schedule them on Christmas. The appropriate policy is to have NO religious holidays scheduled, but allow a number of days each year for individuals' observances to be used as s/he finds applicable.

If an individual's regular working day is Sunday, then they should receive holiday pay for working on that Sunday, similar to how the Xmas holiday is treated. This country was founded on Christianity and while religious freedom is everyone's right, I think the country should maintain its core founding religious values. Providing paid 'floating holidays,' ‘personal days,’ or ‘PTOs’ is a good way for employers to support others' religious celebrations. "When in Rome..."

If an employer wants to offer a paid holiday to employees for any reason, let it!! Will this be the next thing to be over regulated!?!? Don't let me rant about this one! BTW -- our employer permits trading for another holiday. Even better, my boss lets me trade for any day. So I'll be very productive in a very quiet office on Good Friday.

Verbatim (cont.) 

Our company may close down a little early for Easter, but that's all. And I don't think they should do anything else. Easter is important to me personally, but I'm reasonable enough to understand the unfairness of honoring one religion's holidays while ignoring all others.

Easter and Christmas are no longer religious holidays for most Americans, they're cultural holidays.

Easter holidays are of course paid holidays in many European countries, just not the US. The US also has a very low number of public holidays compared to other developed countries, so whether additional public holidays are given for Easter or elsewhere it would be good to have a 3 or 4 day holiday. It would also be equitable to recognize other religious holidays such Hanukkah, Eid, etc to be consistent from a religious standpoint.

These questions are really hard to answer in black and white. This country was founded on Christianity and hence the celebration of certain holidays. Just like we get off for Martin Luther King Day, the rest of us don't complain that we don't have a Mother Theresa holiday. I think companies just need to be flexible.

If specific time off for Easter is given so should all major holidays of other religions. As it is, time off for Christmas is given.

Considering that for most of these holidays the banks and/or stock market is closed, it's logical that companies would also close to give their employees a holiday - especially businesses that are tied directly to the market/financial sector.

I think it's okay to give time off for Christmas because it has become almost as much a secular holiday as a religious holiday. I do not think closing for Good Friday, like my Company does is the right thing to do because in my opinion it is strictly a religious holiday. However, I will take whatever I can get in the way of holidays.

The only religious holiday that I can think of that most companies give paid time off for is Christmas, and that is cultural and not religious for many people now. It is not necessary to have paid time off for Easter since it always falls on a Sunday and because historically people have not received this.

Keep religion out of the workplace.

As a Catholic it is greatly appreciated having Good Friday as a holiday. If other companies do not offer religious holidays hopefully they allow those practice the option of taking a personal day.

Verbatim (cont.) 

We used to offer Good Friday as a holiday. Because so many like to have time off at Christmas, we no longer take Good Friday or Veteran's Day as holidays. We take extra holiday time at Christmas closing for the week between Christmas and New Year’s. There is usually one day that the employees have to take as vacation or personal.

If business needs can still be met with a partial workforce, I think it would be fair to designate a paid holiday as a floater, which could be taken on whichever date is meaningful for the employee, e.g., Good Friday, MLK Day, Vets Day, summer solstice, Arbor Day, birthday, etc.

....its fair as the 'religious group's' principles, values and morals are upon which this great country was founded.

Easter always falls on a Sunday, which for many people isn't a work day. If it fell on a weekday, I might feel differently.

To me, offering paid religious holidays depends on the demographics of the group. The only religious holiday we offer is Christmas, but we also give 2 personal days each year so employees can take the "holidays" that they need or desire.

It's difficult to be inconsistent in holidays if you are interacting with other businesses/customers so need to adjust accordingly. I like to see companies use floating holidays or allow use of PTO banks for days to give employees the most flexibility for scheduling holiday/vacation time

Our company offers personal paid days so that employees who celebrate non-Christian holidays may also have the opportunity to do so.

up until last year we had Good Friday, it seems Christmas is more secular these days and less religious, Easter not so much. Future holidays may be all floaters based on your on religious preferences?

Technically, it is called Spring Break holiday and the company gives staff off on Friday and Monday.

I would be happy to have any day off for any reason, but perhaps floating holidays might be more fair than designating religious holidays. On the other hand, Christmas doesn't seem like much of a religious holiday these days.

Either no religious holidays should be offered, or all religious holidays, not just Christian ones.


NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.
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