Arlington, Va., (December 4, 2012)
- With Christmas and New Year's Day falling on Tuesdays in 2012-13,
employers' year-end holiday calendars will be much kinder to workers than in the
previous two years, according to Bloomberg BNA's survey of employers' year-end
holiday plans. Almost three-fifths of the surveyed employers (58 percent) have scheduled at least
three paid days off for the 2012-13 holiday season, compared with about two out
of five establishments responding for 2011-12 (42 percent) and 2010-11 (36
percent), when the national holidays fell on the weekend. The Bloomberg BNA
survey also suggests some recovery in holiday gifts, bonuses, and party-giving
from levels observed around the end of the recession.
For more than three
decades, Bloomberg BNA's Year-End Holiday Practices Survey has offered an annual
snapshot of companies' plans for year-end time off, recognizing employees'
contributions through gifts and bonuses, holiday parties, and charitable
endeavors. This year's results are based on responses from 628 human resource
professionals and executives representing a broad cross-section of U.S.
employers, both public and private.
A long Christmas weekend is
on tap for many U.S. workers this year. Just over
half of responding employers (51 percent) have slated Monday,
Dec. 24 as a paid day off.
Manufacturers' holiday schedules
remain decidedly more generous than those of nonmanufacturing firms and
nonbusiness establishments. The vast majority of surveyed manufacturing
firms (85 percent) will grant three or more paid days off during the upcoming
holiday season, compared with barely half of both nonmanufacturing companies (52
percent) and nonbusiness organizations (51 percent), such as hospitals, schools,
and government agencies.
Workers in small shops stand a better
chance of an extra day off than their colleagues in bigger
organizations. Nearly two-thirds of companies with fewer than 1,000
employees (65 percent) have scheduled three or more paid days off during the
2012-13 holiday season; less than half of larger employers (48 percent) will be
Holiday work shifts will force some employees to
postpone their Christmas dinners and New Year's gatherings, as nearly
four out of 10 surveyed establishments will require at least a few employees to
work on Dec. 25, Jan. 1, or both. Christmas work shifts have been slated by 34
percent of the employers, while a few more (38 percent) will have workers on
duty for New Year's Day.
Holiday gifts and bonuses have seen some
resurgence in the past several years. Forty-five percent of the
surveyed organizations will distribute gifts or bonuses to some or all employees
in 2012-13, virtually unchanged from a year ago (46 percent) but well above the
record low of 33 percent in 2009, when the recession came to its official close.
Management and nonmanagement are equally likely to receive holiday cash or gifts
from employers, and money still trumps merchandise as year-end expressions of
Gifts from clients and business associates are
restricted or prohibited by the vast majority of U.S. employers. More
than three out of four responding organizations (77 percent) impose formal rules
on gift acceptance, including 25 percent that ban gifts entirely.
Holiday celebrations are on the slate at roughly three out of four
surveyed establishments (74 percent), somewhat improved from 2009, when
67 percent sponsored any late-year festivities. Companywide events are planned
by more than half of the responding employers (55 percent),
virtually unchanged from a year ago (56 percent) and up a bit from 2009 (50
Most employers will pay the entire cost of their
companywide parties, but only about half will welcome spouses or
guests. Among employers sponsoring festivities for the entire
workforce, 86 percent will foot the entire bill, while only 48 percent will
allow employees to invite guests.
overindulgence are standard procedure at parties where alcohol is
served. Alcohol will be served at nearly two out of three events (63
percent), a modest increase from 2011-12 (55 percent) and 2010-11 (56 percent).
Of the organizations serving beer, wine, or liquor at their year-end events, 84
percent reported at least one safeguard to prevent excessive consumption or
protect guests. Many reported multiple precautions, including time limits, cab
service, and discounted hotel rates.
Charitable activities remain
a holiday tradition among a majority of U.S. employers. More than three
out of five establishments (63 percent) will sponsor charitable endeavors around
year's end; most of those firms will participate in multiple programs and
Toy and food collections remain the predominant forms
of employer-sponsored charity. Forty percent of all responding
employers will sponsor toy collections for needy children; food collections and
distribution follow closely behind, at 37 percent. Clothing drives are planned
by one in five surveyed employers, and nearly as many (16 percent) will sponsor
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