Who’s Ready for a Paid Holiday, and Some Labor Day History?


Almost all employers (97 percent) will grant Labor Day—Sept. 7 this year—as a full paid holiday for employees, Bloomberg BNA’s 2015 Holiday Leave Practices Survey reveals.

Still, 41 percent of employers will require at least some employees to report to work on Labor Day, according to the survey of HR and employee relations executives representing 108 employers. 

Scheduling workers for holiday duty is much more common among large organizations (80 percent) than small ones (29 percent), but it’s often limited to select functions, such as technical staff and those with security or public safety responsibilities.

Grabbing a Labor Day shift can have its perks, the survey shows. Most employers will either pay a premium rate—ranging from time-and-a-half to double-time pay and sometimes even double-time-and-a-half pay—or give employees a combination of pay and compensatory time for working on the holiday. 

Celebrating Workers

Now for some Labor Day history, courtesy of our friends at Wikipedia. Did you know that it became a federal holiday more than 120 years ago? 

Several states, led by Oregon in 1887, had already approved an official holiday to celebrate the labor movement and the contributions of workers. But federal lawmakers didn’t follow suit until the Pullman Strike—which crippled the nation’s railway system during the summer of 1894—was put down with military intervention, resulting in violent confrontations that killed 30 workers. Legislation suddenly whizzed through Congress and was signed by President Grover Cleveland less than a week after the strike ended. 

These days, we typically think of Labor Day weekend as the end of the summer season, giving us one last chance to have fun in the sun, enjoy cookouts with family and friends or take advantage of all those great Labor Day sales. And there’s the rub for employees in the retail sector, since many of them will actually log extra hours over the holiday weekend.

But as the survey suggests, they’re likely to receive more than just regular pay if they get tapped for a Labor Day shift. And who would you expect to have the most lucrative compensation arrangements? Here’s one guess: those workers who are covered by union-negotiated collective bargaining agreements.

For more details on Labor Day work requirements, including an infographic on the survey results, you can check out the Bloomberg BNA press release by clicking here.

Bloomberg BNA conducts multiple surveys each year to provide HR professionals with an understanding of current industry practices. These are available through the HR Decision Support Network . Start your free trial today.