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For Many, Thanksgiving Is a Time to Work, Not Rest

For Many, Thanksgiving Is a Time to Work, Not Rest
Credit: Raths/Shutterstock

If you have to trudge into work next week on Thanksgiving instead of gobbling down turkey and watching football, you won't be alone.

Although Thanksgiving is a paid holiday for most workers, 33 percent of employees have to work that day, down slightly from 37 percent a year ago, according to research from Bloomberg BNA.

The percentage of employees who have to punch the clock on Thanksgiving has dropped significantly over the past 15 years. For comparison, 48 percent of employees worked on Thanksgiving in 2000, and 47 percent did so in 2002.

Security and public safety workers, service and maintenance staff, and technicians are the most likely to work holiday shifts this year, the study found. [What Do you Need to Do To Prepare for Small Business Saturday? ]

Matt Sottong, Bloomberg BNA's director of surveys and research reports, said there is a bit of an upside to missing out on the holiday festivities

"The good news for workers who are required to spend the holiday away from friends and family is that most will be compensated in the form of extra pay, additional time off or both," Sottong said in a statement. "In fact, 74 percent of employers requiring Thanksgiving duty will provide workers extra pay and/or leave this year, up significantly from 55 percent in 2013."

Specifically, 39 percent of the employers surveyed will provide their workers time-and-a-half pay, 25 percent will offer double-time pay and 10 percent will provide a combination of overtime and compensatory time off.

Employees of small businesses will have it best this year. Thanksgiving work shifts are planned by just 22 percent of organizations with fewer than 1,000 workers, compared to 61 percent of larger companies. Additionally, 75 percent of smaller businesses have scheduled paid holidays for both Thanksgiving and the day after Thanksgiving this year, compared to only 61 percent of larger employers.

A number of organizations plan to reward their workers with a special gift this November. The study revealed that 11 percent of businesses will hold Thanksgiving luncheons or dinners, 6 percent will distribute gift certificates for food and 4 percent will send workers home with a turkey.

The research was based on a survey of more than 350 senior human resources and employee relations executives representing a broad cross-section of U.S. employers.

Chad  Brooks
Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.