Running Your Business

Would Floating Holidays Work for Your Business?


  • A floating holiday policy offers employees a number of paid days off from work (as alternatives to public holidays) to use when they choose

  • Workers can use these days for holidays that are special to them or simply for an extra day off

  • Floating holidays recognize religious and cultural days, and help show employees that your company cares

Posted by October 11, 2018

You’ve likely heard the term “floating holidays” used before, but you might not be sure exactly what they are. Wonder no more!

Floating holidays are a way of giving employees the ability to take some special days off, and work during others. Instead of allowing all employees to get Thanksgiving, Christmas, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day off, a floating holiday policy offers team members a certain amount of time off (in lieu of public holidays) to use on whatever days they choose.

Why Implement a Floating Holiday Policy?

Depending on your organization, this type of policy could be very beneficial. Let’s start with an example: The Fourth of July is a federal holiday, so most office workers get the day off. However, if you work at a retail shop or a restaurant, closing on this holiday may not make financial sense—after all, those workers will want to go shopping and eat out on their day off, right?

This can create a tricky situation because some of your colleagues might want to have the official holiday off, but you have a real business need to be open. Therefore, somebody has to work. A floating holiday policy can allow a handful of employees to take the day off, since others will have agreed to come in and service customers. In turn, the staff members that worked that day will then be able to take a day off (using the floating holiday hours) when it best suits them.

Reasons to Consider Floating Holidays

In order to have a competitive benefits package, your employees need paid time off. Vacation time is a big part of that, but holidays are just as important. Even if your business is closed on most major holidays, a floating holiday policy can be helpful. Here are two reasons why:

1. To Recognize Religious and Cultural Days

Good Friday may be very important to your Catholic employees, Yom Kippur may be very important to your Jewish employees and Holi may be very important to your Hindu employees. It’s doubtful that your business would close for any of these days, but that doesn’t make them any less important for those individuals. A floating holiday policy allows your coworkers the ability to celebrate the holidays that are important to them and take the day off without having to use vacation time.

2. To Recognize Personal Sacrifices

If your friends and family all have Labor Day off, and you don’t, it can feel like you have to sacrifice time with your friends and family to be at work. Organizations can recognize that sacrifice by paying workers holiday pay (usually time and a half or double time) or by giving the employees who have to work a comp day instead.

The individuals can then use the comp day for a holiday that is special to them or simply for an extra day off. The law doesn’t require holiday pay or compensatory time off for holidays, but you want happy and engaged employees—and this helps!

When You Are Flexible, Your Coworkers Will Be Flexible

Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, having to work that day can difficult. School children get the same breaks, regardless of their religious beliefs, so if you want to visit your extended family during winter, Christmas is often the time to do it.

If your company is willing to be flexible with work schedules and holidays, you’ll likely find it is easier to secure coverage for difficult and busy times. Yes, you can require someone to work, but it’s much easier when people work willingly (or at least do so on a rotating schedule).

The important thing is that everyone works together to come to a solution. Making sure that you and your colleagues have a good vacation and holiday package helps everyone takes the breaks they need to perform well while they’re in the office. Taking a look at your fellow employees’ needs can help your business grow and prosper.

Curious to learn about other popular benefits your organization could gain access to? Check out the variety of offerings outlined on the United Concordia Dental website.

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