With the Great Recession now dwindling in the rearview mirror, the nation’s economic comeback hasn’t just produced an expansion in employment opportunities and a higher interest rate from the Federal Reserve. It has also yielded a recovery in employers’ holiday spirits!

According to Bloomberg BNA’s survey on year-end holiday practices, the share of employers sponsoring company-wide holiday festivities and charitable activities has climbed all the way back to pre-recession levels.

I can almost hear Prince singing, "Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1999," and I’m definitely experiencing visions of co-workers dancing the Electric Slide in my head.

So how far has the needle moved in the wake of the recession? Well, the latest figures aren’t exactly what you’d call overwhelming, but there have been pretty sizable increases.

For instance, the share of employers sponsoring a company-wide holiday party rose to 80 percent this year, up from a droopy 67 percent in 2009, while the percentage conducting charitable activities grew to a solid two-thirds of the surveyed organizations, up from 59 percent in 2009.

And speaking of spirits, alcohol is being offered at a majority of employers' holiday parties (66 percent), with more than half featuring an open bar (58 percent). Employers don’t want things getting out of control, however, as evidenced by the fact that 90 percent of those opting to serve alcohol were reportedly taking measures to prevent excessive consumption.

Paid Time Off

Paid time off is also high on the list this holiday season, with the vast majority of employers planning to give their employees full paid holidays on Christmas and New Year’s Day. Many employers will also grant an additional day, most commonly on Christmas Eve, according to Molly Huie, Bloomberg BNA’s Manager of Survey and Research Reports.

"Rest and relaxation are in store for the over half of American workers who will be fortunate enough to celebrate the holidays with three days off this season," she said in a press release.

The actual percentage of surveyed employers that said they’d grant at least three paid days off (57 percent) is down slightly from last holiday season when Christmas and New Year’s fell on Thursdays, but it’s on par with the 2009-2010 holiday season, when Christmas and New Year’s last fell on a Friday.

For additional details, see the infographic below or click here in order to request a complimentary copy of the full survey.


The Year-End Holiday Practices Survey is one of several reports included with Bloomberg BNA’s HR Decision Support Network. Start your free trial today.