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Build Your Career Office Life

Season of Giving: Extra Days Off on Tap for Many Workers

Season of Giving: Extra Days Off on Tap for Many Workers
Credit: Alex Master/Shutterstock

Many workers will have lots to celebrate this holiday season, including extra days off and year-end bonuses, new research shows.

Overall, 57 percent of the U.S. employers surveyed in a new study by Bloomberg BNA are giving their employees at least three paid days off over the next couple of weeks.

Specifically, 98 percent are giving workers Christmas Day off, and 94 percent are making New Year's Day a paid holiday. In addition, 46 percent of employers have designated Christmas Eve as a paid day off, while 20 percent are giving New Year's Eve off this year.

While those percentages represent a slight decrease from last year, they are nearly the same as in 2009-2010, the last time the holidays fell on Fridays.

"Rest and relaxation are in store for the over half of American workers who will be fortunate enough to celebrate the holidays with three days off this season," Molly Huie, Bloomberg BNA's manager of survey and research reports, said in a statement.

Not everyone will be kicking back in front of a warm fire with family and friends, however, as there are a number of organizations requiring at least some employees to report to work over the holidays. The study shows that 39 percent of employers will have at least a few workers on duty for Christmas, New Year's Day or both.Maintenance workers,public safety and security personnel, and technical staff are those most likely to be working those days. [Going on Vacation? 5 Ways to Make a Clean Break ]

The good news for most of those employees is that they will be well compensated for working when nearly everyone else is off. More than half of holiday-working employees will receive time-and-a-half or double-time pay, 8 percent will get compensatory time off, and 6 percent will collect both extra pay and compensatory time off.

In addition, 11 percent of employers will be even more generous with extra-time pay. Some of those surveyed will be handing out double time-and-a-half pay and time-and-a-half pay plus holiday pay.

Regardless of whether they're working those days, many employees will receive some year-end gifts from their employer. This year, 32 percent of organizations will award holiday bonuses to staff members, while 10 percent will hand out merchandise, gift cards or gift certificates. 

Additionally, four out of five companies will celebrate the holidays by hosting some type of event or party — the biggest proportion to do so in nearly a decade.

"Employers are in their most giving mood this time of year, and in addition to paid days off, workers can enjoy extra compensation, celebrations with colleagues and the opportunity to give back to their communities," Huie said.

The study found that many organizations are taking time this holiday season to give back to their local communities. More than two-thirds of the employers surveyed are sponsoring some type of year-end community or charitable event. Of those, 49 percent are hosting a toy collection, 45 percent are holding food drives and 32 percent are conducting  "adoption" programs, through which toys, food and clothes are provided directly to local families.

The study was based on surveys of 368 U.S. employers, with respondents generally in senior human resources and employee relations executive positions.

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.