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Build Your Career Office Life

A Record Number of Employers Give Two-Day Thanksgiving Holiday

A Record Number of Employers Give Two-Day Thanksgiving Holiday
Credit: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

While nearly all employers give employees a paid day off on Thanksgiving, a record number are also giving employees time off on the day after this year's holiday, new research finds.

Bloomberg BNA's annual study on holiday practices revealed that 80 percent of employers are providing workers with paid time off on both Thanksgiving and the following Friday, up from 71 percent the past three years. This year's percentage of employers giving two paid days off for the Thanksgiving holiday is the largest in the study's history, which began in 1980.

"A robust economy may be the reason behind so many employers being so generous with time off during the holiday," Molly Huie, a manager of surveys and reports for Bloomberg BNA, said in a statement. "However, as is typically the case on national holidays, some workers are required to punch the clock."

Although 99 percent of employers have made Thanksgiving a holiday, 31 percent will have at least someone working on this year's holiday. That's down from 36 percent a year ago and a high of 48 percent in 2000. The research revealed that security and public safety workers, service and maintenance staff, and technicians are most likely to draw holiday shifts. Office workers are the least likely to be working on Thanksgiving.

The study found that 64 percent of employers with more than 1,000 workers require at least some employees to work on Thanksgiving, compared to only 16 percent of small employers. 

"The scale of large employers’ operations may often limit their ability to totally shut down even for one day, leaving at least some folks with holiday work," the study's authors wrote.

Of employers who need employees to work on this year's holiday, 84 percent will provide some form of extra compensation. Specifically, 36 percent will give Thanksgiving workers time-and-a-half pay, 22 percent will give double-time pay and 12 percent will give a combination of overtime and compensatory time off. [See Related Story: Are You Ready for the Department of Labor's Overtime Rule Change?]

One thing employees shouldn’t be expecting from their employer is a gift this Thanksgiving. The study found that only 22 percent of organizations pay to give their employees gifts or host holiday luncheons or dinners.

As with paid time off, small organizations are the most generous when it comes to Thanksgiving gifts or meals. About one-quarter of small businesses plan to provide gifts or hold Thanksgiving meals this year, compared with 15 percent of large enterprises.

Even though they won't be working, a growing number of workers will be with colleagues on Thanksgiving. A CareerBuilder study found that 28 percent of employees will spend Thanksgiving with co-workers this year, up substantially from 20 percent in 2015.

Despite that, most employees would rather be spending time with loved ones. The CareerBuilder study noted that if employees had a choice between spending Thanksgiving day with co-workers or with family, 91 percent would choose their family. However, 8 percent would rather spend it with neither.

Workers in health care, retail, sales and transportation are the most likely to be with colleagues on Thanksgiving.

This year's Bloomberg BNA study is based on surveys of 444 human resource and employee relations executives representing a broad cross-section of U.S. employers. 

The CareerBuilder research was based on surveys of 3,336 full-time workers.

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.