On 2017 Thanksgiving Menu, Paid Time Off Tops Turkey


turkey picture

Our 2017 holiday survey found that lots of people have a four-day weekend coming up, since their employers are providing two paid days off at Thanksgiving. But if they want turkey on their holiday menu, they shouldn’t wait for someone from work to give them the bird. 

We’re talking about a fowl as a gesture of appreciation, not a foul gesture, of course. 

While almost one-fourth (23 percent) of the 387 surveyed employers plan to distribute gifts or host a Thanksgiving meal for employees, a scant 3 percent said they’d be handing out turkeys. 

Manufacturers are the biggest givers of Thanksgiving gifts. Two-fifths of respondents from the manufacturing sector plan to show employees some appreciation around the holiday, most commonly by holding a luncheon or dinner for them (18 percent) or distributing gift certificates for food (15 percent). 

Another 7 percent of the surveyed manufacturers say they will give their employees turkeys. This is a high percentage, relatively speaking, when compared with the other two broad industry categories covered in the survey. 

For example, in the nonbusiness sector—a category that includes government employers, health-care facilities, and educational institutions—only 1 percent of this year’s survey participants will be handing out turkeys. Among nonmanufacturing businesses, the figure is 2 percent. 

Thursday and Friday Off

All these gestures are far less common than helping employees celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with paid time off. In fact, a four-day weekend remains the prevailing standard in U.S. workplaces, with 78 percent of surveyed employers scheduling paid days off for both Thanksgiving Day and Friday, Nov. 24. 

Again, the manufacturing sector is the most generous, with 91 percent of employers scheduling both Thursday and Friday as days off with pay. 

Despite the widespread availability of paid time off at Thanksgiving, some workers will have to clock-in on turkey day. Our 2017 results show that one-third of the surveyed establishments will require at least a handful of employees to be on the job Thanksgiving Day, and the types of employees most likely to draw holiday shifts are service and maintenance staff, as well as security and public safety workers. 

For those employees who do get tapped to work on Thanksgiving, there’s typically something extra in it for them. Employees are most likely to receive higher compensation for the hours they work, with employers paying them at a time-and-a-half or double-time rate. A less common practice is to award compensatory time off, either on top of employees’ regular compensation or in addition to extra pay. 

The following breakdown shows precise figures for pay practices covered in the survey:

 Time-and-one-half pay (33 percent);

 Double-time pay (27 percent);

 Other form of extra pay (11 percent);

 Comp time and regular pay (8 percent);

 Regular pay only (7 percent); and

 Both extra pay and comp time (6 percent). 

HR Decision Support Network makes it easier to understand and manage workplace issues with an array of resources, including survey reports available here to subscribers. Anyone can download "Thanksgiving Holiday Practices 2017" by registering here, or explore our other content and tools by taking a free trial to HR Decision Support Network.